Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Robocall Scandal

The Canadian news has been full of stories covering the so called "robocall" scandal.  The allegations are that entities working for the Conservative Party have been calling voters to pose as members of another party, in order to annoy those voters, or to pose as members of Elections Canada and to misinform voters of polling stations.

According to Liberal leader Bob Rae, the Tories called Jewish voters in four constituencies during a Jewish holiday, and voters in 30 other ridings with other efforts of voter suppression.

Now, the big question here is whether or not this was a widely coordinated effort, or something done by a single person, or a handful of people with no connection to the Conservatives.

A few days ago the Conservatives claimed that a staffer was responsible, but they since have moved to claim that they have nothing to do with these automated calls.

Meanwhile, a Conservative pollster is being investigated for a smear campaign against Liberal MP, Irwin Cotler.    The allegations are that a pollster working for the Conservatives called voters to tell them that Mr. Cotler was going to resign his seat.  The idea seems to have been to caste doubt on Mr. Cotler's reliablity.

Now, normally I wouldn't think that such a series of scandals would have ever passed before the eyes of senior members of the party, especially not cabinet ministers or Harper himself, but given how Harper has consistently micro-managed his cabinet and his elections war rooms, I have trouble seeing how he could have not been at least somewhat aware of this.

I would love for someone to correct me if I'm wrong, but I do remember some news coming out from Liberals during the June campaign that their supporters were receiving calls from supposed elections Canada officials who were most likely Conservative operatives.  I'm surprised that the NDP and Liberals haven't mentioned that in their talking points.

Whatever happened, I do hope that the RCMP and Elections Canada can get to the bottom of it before the next election.  If the national Conservative campaign did not know of this kind of activity, than they need their name cleared.  If they did know of it, someone needs to be held accountable.

This kind of thing cannot be allowed to proliferate.

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