Tag Archives: robocalls

May 2011 Federal Election Cheaters? I Want A Re-Call.

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This is BIG. This is possibly the biggest case of corruption and political scandal that Canada will ever see and yet I heard nothing of it on the news this morning.

What gives?

The CBC outlines the 12 ridings that benefited from the robo calls that went out during the May 2011 Federal election in Canada.

I have copied the results of a preliminary investigation by Elections Canada from the CBC web site, just in case they happen to got washed out during the upcoming (and necessary) controversy surrounding this issue.

The numbers amount to a minimum 14 ridings where voters were called, told to go to incorrect locations, or where they received conflicting information about the election and issues.  My suspicion is that the company mentioned in the CBC article is not the only company that was recruited for these kind of tactics.

The company involved – Rack Nine – has denied any knowledge of what had happened, opening up the requirement for a full Elections Canada and RCMP investigation.

Also, the evidence of US involvement with the campaign, particularly with the use of an American robo-call company called Tele-Town, based in Arlington, Virginia should also come into this investigation.  Why were they calling Canadians?  What information do they have on Canadian households?  What information did Canadians share with an American firm?  How much extra money was spent on these calling services?  What ridings did they call and how often?  What information did they disseminate to Canadian voters that may have altered election results, particularly in swing ridings.

This much is clear:  Canadians need to wake up that a new reality of politics and media manipulation is upon us and yet the Liberals, NDPers and Green Party are pretending it’s not happening.  Canadians, too, need to be better informed about what’s being taken from them by these crooks.

Here are the CBC details:

From candidate electoral reports available through the Elections Canada website:
(Note: The second line refers to the expense category under which the amount was listed.  Also, I’ve indicated the number of votes difference between the candidate listed and the candidate that came in second.)

Rona Ambrose (Edmonton Spruce Grove)
Miscellaneous expenses
Apr. 11, 2011    Racknine Inc    1,175.43
May 9, 2011    Racknine Inc    367.54
May 1, 2011    Racknine Inc    5,575.36

Ryan Hastman (Edmonton Strathcona)
Advertising – other
Apr. 27, 2011    RackNine Inc.    4,252.50
May 6, 2011    RackNine Inc.    1,683.16
Surveys – other research
May 5, 2011    RackNine Inc.    816.19

Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre)
Advertising – other
May 9, 2011    RACKNINE INC    1,550.43

Cathy McLeod (Kamloops – Thompson – Cariboo)
Advertising – radio/TV
May 24, 2011    RackNine Inc.     328.52

Lee Richardson (Calgary Centre)
Election surveys – other research
May 9, 2011    Racknine Inc.    501.87

Devinder Shory (Caglary Northeast)
Office expenses – other
May 13, 2011    RACK NINE INC    580.30

Tim Uppal (Edmonton – Sherwood Park)
Office expenses – other
May 3, 2011    Rack Nine Inc.    1,199.45

According to invoices submitted to Elections Canada posted by the NDP research office,  there were also several payments to RackNine that do not show up in the list of direct campaign expenses:

Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest)
May 4, 2011 – $117.75 (GOTV campaign)

Lavar Payne (Medicine Hat)
May 4, 2011 – $26.01 .

According to the correspondence that the Harper campaign included with this invoice, this was related to a final GOTV phone blitz in “swing” ridings  the weekend before the election. It appears that RackNine initially billed the full cost, which remains unknown, to the Conservative Party of Canada, which passed the cost onto participating campaigns — including, in this case, that of the party leader.

It’s worth noting that, in the attached emails, the Harper team member charged with handling the invoice initially seems unsure why the campaign is being asked to pay for the calls. Eventually, he decides to pay it, as they were apparently planning to charge the national campaign for a portion of “phone bank” costs, and didn’t want to get into a “dispute” over $118.

Meanwhile, Payne, whose agent filed the same invoice in support of its expense claim, albeit with a different amount listed at the bottom, apparently paid just $26.01 for a personalized phone blast in his riding of Medicine Hat, which, as with Harper’s claim, was charged to his campaign on behalf of the Conservative Fund.

Leon Benoit (Vegreville-Wainwright)
Apr. 31, 2011 –  $4,830.00 (teletown hall)
Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast)
April 19, 2011 – $4,231.50 (teletown hall)

RackNine billed both the Benoit and Kenney campaigns in US funds, and according to the credit card records included with the Kenney filing, the money was actually paid to Tele-Town Hall LLC 2022378051 DC, an Arlington, VA-based firm that specializes in tele-town halls, which suggests that RackNine may have been simply asking as a middleman or reseller.

Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre)
Apr. 23, 2011 – 165.13 (advance poll message)

This is actually one of two RackNine-related expenses listed in the Hawn’s filing — the other appeared as a direct payment in the expense report, as noted above. This smaller amount was actually paid by a Hawn staffer, Peter Watson, who subsequently invoiced the campaign as part of a separate expense claim.

Michelle Rempel (Calgary Centre – North)
March 16/29, 2011(?) – $2,500 (unknown)

According to the invoice, the money was paid — in two installments, a $500 retainer before the writs dropped, and the remaining amount after the campaign had begun — by a “Jason Rempel”, who was the recipient of multiple unrelated payments throughout the election.

Lee Richardson (Calgary Centre)
April 25, 2011 – $5,735.00 (teletown hall)

This invoice — which is over and above the amounts listed earlier — was paid to RackNine “c/o Glenn Solomon”, with an entry for the same amount appearing under Solomon’s name for “elections and other surveys”. It is unclear what relationship, if any, Solomon, a longtime local Tory supporter, had/has with either the Richardson campaign or RackNine.

MayDay 2011: Robo-Calls and Fraud

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Robo-calls – the incessant automated calls that you get during an election – are annoying.

They lack personality and warmth and just piss you off.  At least, that’s the response I have.

Everybody knows this.  Including the Liberals.

It’s because of this that there’s growing suspicion about who might be behind the robo-calls that are coming from somewhere in the United States pretending to be calls from Liberal candidates.

The CBC covered the story yesterday, and Canadians must realize that there’s more to this that must be investigated.  As one commentor noted on the CBC site, just call the FBI and have the numbers traced.

But is it that simple?

Will we ever know who’s really behind these calls?  Put your bets down.

Canadians probably won’t know who’s to blame, but whoever is behind this has committed an extremely serious breach of ethics and fraud with this election.  It’s proof once again that we’re all victims of a very different ball game.

I think you can guess who my money is on when it comes to who’s behind this.