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- Robogate" reveals weakness of Tory majority

By: 
Allan Wood

March 26, 2012

Voters in more than 90 ridings across Canada have reported irregularities, suspicious activity, and harassing and misleading phone calls in the run-up to the May 2011 federal election. In nearly every case, the calls and irregularities favoured the Conservatives.

What is already being called the largest election scandal in Canadian history has raised serious doubts about the legitimacy of the Conservatives’ majority of seats in Parliament. Election Canada has received over 31,000 complaints related to the 2011 election.

As the evidence piles up, it is looking extremely likely that the Conservatives–and/or operatives working on their behalf—did all they could to fix the election: illegally suppressing voter turnout in key ridings, directing voters to non-existent polling stations, and harassing voters while impersonating one of opposition parties, to insure that Stephen Harper and his Conservative party received the majority government it had desired for years.

Far from being the work of one “rogue” staffer, honest “mistakes”, or a “smear campaign” cooked up by the opposition, what the media has dubbed Robogate or the Robocall scandal is actually an intricate, highly-organized effort across the entire country to fix the May 2011 election. “Robo-” is a misnomer, however, because live people made many of these suspicious calls.

In February 2012, four employees of Responsive Marketing Group Inc.’s call centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario, admitted they used a Tory-created script to tell prospective voters to go to non-existent or incorrect polling locations. According to data compiled by sixthestate.net, in at least seven ridings across the country—Mississauga-Streestville, St. Paul’s, Victoria, Vancouver Island North, Willowdale, Nipissing Timiskaming, and Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Coquitlam—voters were directed to bogus polling stations after telling a Conservative surveyor that they planned to vote for an opposition party. In one of those ridings (Nipissing Timiskaming), the Conservatives won by only 18 votes.

Back in November 2011, the Conservatives admitted they had made illegal, false, and misleading phone calls to voter before a byelection.

Section 281(g) of the Canada Elections Act is clear: “No person shall, inside or outside Canada, wilfully prevent or endeavour to prevent an elector from voting at an election”. There must be a full investigation of these allegations of fraud, with byelections held in any riding in which illegal calls were made. If necessary, the Governor General should dissolve Parliament and call for a new election.

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