Some of you may be following the “Fauxbocalls” scandal that is the latest offering in the Republican North Party’s campaign to demonstrate that they are no different from their southern ideological cousins. Essentially, voters in a number of ridings around the country (including mine, apparently) received calls from people claiming to be from the Liberal Party of Canada. These voters were then advised that their polling place had changed, which was an outright lie.
While it is usually my habit to comment on a political story of this magnitude, I am intentionally avoiding doing so. My primary reason for doing this is that we don’t have any answers yet about how widespread this practice is, or how much of it is simply anecdotal. What we do know is that more than 31,000 complaints were made to Elections Canada in this past election, which is more than 4 times the margin of victory for the Republicans in the last election. We also know that complaints in the previous election was in the area of hundreds, not tens of thousands. What we don’t know is whether or not anyone in the political wing of the Republican party knows anything whatsoever about this practice.
My official take: I believe them when they say they don’t know what happened. I think they’re a bunch of scumbags for basically out-and-out stating that they do know what happened, and that it was a tricky ploy by the Liberals to manufacture a controversy. I think that anyone who says this “isn’t a big deal” is talking complete nonsense (yes, I am looking directly at you, Rex Murphy). I think that any response other than “we need to determine who did this, and what their intent was” is unnecessarily bet-hedging or worse, an attempt to promulgate a fraud far worse than the one that toppled the previous Liberal government.
That being said, until I have more information (or a particularly slow news week), I am not going to comment beyond that. Below the fold are some articles that I have found interesting and/or useful in parsing this whole issue.
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The House of Commons voted unanimously Monday to adopt a motion calling on all MPs “to provide Elections Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with any and all information they have on voter suppression and illegal phoning during the last election.” But while all parties agreed on the basic principle of reporting foul play to the proper investigators, fingers were pointing all over the place as to who could be responsible for a fast-growing collection of examples of 2011 election campaign calls, both live and automated, which may have falsely impersonated other parties or intentionally sent voters to incorrect locations to vote.
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are fighting back in the wake of opposition allegations the Tories arranged for pre-election calls impersonating the Liberal Party to alienate Grit voters. These accusations are different than the robo-call controversy in the riding of Guelph – now under investigation by Elections Canada – where voters were told to head to the wrong polling stations.
The Conservative Party’s reaction to the robo-call controversy has evolved since the story first broke last week. Here’s what key Tories have said about the allegations of election mischief that have taken over the parliamentary agenda.
The Conservatives have given the Liberals another five days to reveal what they know about the public release of salacious details of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’s divorce before they call the Liberal staffer who resigned over the affair before a committee. Dean Del Mastro, the parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, had said he would move a motion Thursday to have Adam Carroll, the man the Liberals say is behind the Vikileaks 30 Twitter account, to testify before the Commons ethics committee.