Are The Robocall Rallies Calling To Destroy Canadian Democracy?

A sign from this weekend's Robocall rally- are they calling for too much too soon?

When I first heard about the Robocall Scandal I was immediately compelled to join the movement to call for an inquiry. If the allegations are true, we have a very serious problem in our country- and, justice must be served. However, as I’ve shared with you before, I was quickly disillusioned my the direction of the Robocall Rallies.

The first rally was organized by members of Occupy Vancouver. The members there started off with great hopes- however, many were left unsatisfied with how it proceeded. Occupy Vancouver has, from the start, posed itself as a non-partisan organization- so, when the rally was filled with politicians and partisan organizations, people there were also disillusioned. Not to mention, after all of the Occupiers hard work, Sarah Behuler failed to mention the Occupy name when she spoke to the press that day…

Then I went to the organizational meetings of the Toronto Robocall rally and it appeared to be going the same direction. And, it seems, my assumptions are right. The rally in Toronto on Saturday turned-out to be more of an anti-Harper rally than a movement to get some truth about this scandal.

The Communist Party of Canada handing-out flyers at this weekend's rally in Toronto.

This is disappointing on a few levels. First, as I wrote last week, had we focussed on the issues with Elections Canada we may not have seen their budget being cut. But more importantly, by taking a ‘fire the liars’ tact prior to the end of the investigation, the Robocall rallies are asking that we take action without due process. I find this to be deeply disturbing- due process is a fundamental part of our democracy…

Let’s look at some of the facts that have been reported in the media:

– 60,000+ Complaints have been made about this issue to Elections Canada.
– 800 of them allege “specific occurrences of improper or fraudulent calls”
– Complaints have come from 200 ridings.

The 60,000 complaints came through Avaaz.com, a website that is used to create online petitions (and with deep connections to George Soros & the TIDES Foundation). I always thought that Avaaz was a non-partisan organisation- however, I was contacted by them a few weeks ago, and they appear to be taking an active roll in promoting this particular cause. Avaaz offered us “an MP or 2 from the NDP/Liberals to speak” at our rally.

(click the image to expand)

Many of the reports in the mainstream and alternative media have framed the 60K complaints in a way that have left many Canadians with the belief that there were that many calls. I polled 20 random people on Toronto’s Queen St today- there are the results of what they believed:

– 13 people believed that there were “10’s of thousands of calls”
– 4 people believed that there were “a few hundred calls”
– 3 people didn’t have a clue

Of course, this was a highly non-scientific poll. That said, my survey does give the impression that there is confusion amongst Canadians as to the number of calls made. Is this not an indication that this issue is being overblown?

More of the crowd at the Toronto rally last Saturday

Angus Reid did a more scientific poll in early March and said that 81% of Canadians want an investigation. They also said that 64% believe that the issue is more widespread than reported. So, we can assume with some confidence that there is confusion and/or doubt about what happened. Knowing this, how can we possibly be calling for the government to be annulled? This seems rather undemocratic to me…

But, with only 800 calls reported, from 200 ridings, we’re talking about an average of 4 calls per riding. So, how much of an impact could these calls have had? Let’s have a look at the infographic below for some help:

Liberated from 404systemerror.com (click image to expand)

It will be impossible to guess on the distribution of the calls that were made- and, it is quite likely that some reports were false, and that some calls were not reported. But, looking at the above numbers, one can guess(with currently available information) that they didn’t have a giant impact on the election. Perhaps they did, but more likely they didn’t.

Considering this, how is it that on Saturday’s rally that the speaker in this video says that 6 million calls were made? Is he perhaps a bit confused?

I can tell you that he is. The 6 million is the number of calls made to sell the ‘virtue’ of the Conservative party, not robocalls to tell people to change their polling place- these sorts of calls were made by all political parties. It was unnerving to hear such a blatant misrepresentation!

So, with the information we have today, and considering the rallies have started to spread misinformation, I am strongly of the belief that it is irresponsible to call for a new election right now. No matter how much I’d like to see the Harper government banished, it is vastly more important that we don’t destroy our democracy while doing it….

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22 responses to “Are The Robocall Rallies Calling To Destroy Canadian Democracy?

  1. Well researched and written piece . I read that there were 800k MORE votes then in the last election also.

    • Thank you! And great to hear that the number of Canadians who vote is growing! Still, with less than 50% voting in the last election, we have a serious problem with our democracy…

  2. Seriously?

    And there were 200 ridings reporting problems. Yet only the Council of Canadians only after the ones where they didn’t like the results. So I guess for them electoral fraud is ok if they like the outcome.

    To be honest Greg, this is just one of many issues that left wing interest groups have overblown or misrepresented in an attempt to fight conservatives. I don’t ever remember this level of vitriol from conservatives when the Liberals were in power. Oh sure we objected and criticized and declared people incompetent but I don’t remember any concerted effort to link any of the leaders to some of the most atrocious regimes in human history like we see now. Watching what some on the left are up to reminds me of the guy who’s kicking the shit out of someone on the ground all the while proclaiming we need to be a kinder gentler nation.

    • As many of my readers know, I don’t have much trust in the Council of Canadians these days. Besides their dropping the ball after helping to make Black Bloc such an issue in Canada, it seems they should change their name to “The Council of Far-Left Marxist/Leninist Canadians” these days.

      Both the left and the right spend their time over-blowing & misrepresenting things. This is the problem we have with the left/right duality. Personally, if I had a magic wand, I’d eliminate political parties altogether…

  3. You seem to be conflating that one rally with the rest that occurred across Canada. The only common theme amongst the rallies was to call for a public inquiry, and demand serious consequences for any found guilty. These are logical and sensible demands, especially considering the circumstances. But the individual rallies were organized in a grassroots manner, outside of the control of Democracy Canada, who sent out the initial call. If one particular speaker, or rally, was spreading misinformation; that’s too bad. But don’t claim they all were doing so based upon that one example.

    “It will be impossible to guess on the distribution of the calls that were made- and, it is quite likely that some reports were false, and that some calls were not reported. But, looking at the above numbers, one can guess(with currently available information) that they didn’t have a giant impact on the election. Perhaps they did, but more likely they didn’t”

    I disagree. Even taking into account that out of the 800, some were likely inaccurate and some were likely not reported, I believe it remains likely that this had a definite effect upon the election. Perhaps not enough to make the Harper government a minority however, that would seem unlikely.

    • You make a fair comment here- this is something I could have been more clear about. I was mostly referring to the rallies in Toronto & Vancouver. Victoria was more fair about this issue, and I have great respect for how Regina wasn’t calling for new elections yet.

      Was there a rally in Newfoundland? How did that go?

      And, as for the count of actual robocalls, I doubt we will ever know the exact number. That said, it will be hard to judge the actual impact until the investigation is finished. Once we have all of the information in we can then see what to do about it. This is what my main point was anyhow- due process, THEN ‘fire the liars’.

      Thanks for your input!

      -Greg

      • Agreed about due process, that’s been my major concern as well, along with many of my fellow local Occupiers. I’ve never hesitated to defend the Conservatives as being innocent until proven guilty, just like anyone else would be in our justice system.

        There was a rally in Newfoundland, though the timing was bad. We have had no snow for over a week prior to the rally, when suddenly we get a major snow storm that ran from Friday night until Saturday evening. Roads were not cleared well enough in time, so they were too dangerous for participants to drive to the rally, but we still managed to get a decent crowd out despite the circumstances (most of them lived within walking distance). All things considered, I’m pleased with how it turned out.
        Blog post on the event here: http://www.occupynl.ca/2012/03/robogate-protest-2-march-31-2012.html

        • It’s funny (or perhaps scary), I moved to Toronto from Vancouver in February and haven’t seen very much snow since. It must be hard to occupy in Newfoundland, I’m so proud to see your occupation is still running strong! What’s the secret?

          • Hah, I’m not sure I have the answer to that. Luck?

            It could be the diverse mix of participants we have. We’ve been lucky in that regard. Our supporters have been very determined to not only create real positive change, but to do so in a democratic and inclusive manner. Though, our numbers have dropped somewhat since around the end of December. I’ll be concentrating on outreach, along with building a new website, to encourage an influx of new participants this spring/summer.

            Our camp was the only one in Canada to remain standing, right from October 15th. I’m really not sure how we accomplished that, but we managed somehow. It might have had something to do with our sticking to procedure, right from the beginning, with all major decisions (or anything said to speak for the group) being passed via consensus.

  4. excellent that was a very solid piece of work!

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  8. I believe that you need to do a little more research. According to Marc Mayrand, the Chief Electoral Officer, he received 40,000 complaints, there are 800 complaints which can be substantiated, and there are 250 files of investigations which may contain multiple complaints and they are in 200 ridings “right across the country” in 10 provinces and 1 territory. At the moment, since EC is doing the investigation, his report is the most meaningful. However because the federal government reduced the budget for Elections Canada by 7.5 million per year, effective immediately, we have a problem. That is why we need an independent, transparent and public inquiry and we need it now. Those are the facts. We have a government which is allegedly involved in massive election fraud and is content to let an investigation by a crippled Elections Canada go on for years. That erodes democracy and confidence in our electoral system.

    • If you look into the charter for Elections Canada, they are allowed to request as much money as they need to conduct an investigation. The budget cuts don’t affect this…

      • I think that is not likely to happen, or happen in a timely manner. Elections Canada reports to the government, and the current federal government is masterful at using delaying tactics to solve it’s problems. Can you say ‘Prorogation’? Futhermore, you try to trivialize the number of complaints per riding. Don’t forget that those are simply the reported complaints. Mayrand, stated that even one instance of voter suppression is unacceptable and Poliviere called the number of incidents, “unprecedented”. Please do not try to minimize these complaints. We need a public inquiry to air out this issue in the same way that the Watergate hearings got people’s attention in the US. I don’t see why you think that an inquiry is not a legal way of dealing with this issue – transparent, with independent, respected members held accountable by a public, transparent process. The time for closed doors and secret committees is over. Especially since Elections Canada dropped the charges against the Conservative MP’s in the in and out scandal.(two of whom now sit in the senate)

  9. When Harper and other conservatives actually treat ELECTION THEFT with the seriousness it deserves, then they will deserve some mercy and respect.

    Not before.

    • Yes- Harper & the CPC need to treat this issue with more respect. That said, my argument is different- that we shouldn’t do away with the legal system getting rid of them. Is this not reasonable also?

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