If Canadians Don't Reprimand Harper's Conservatives For RoboGate It's Only A Matter Of Time Before Tory Goons With Billy Clubs Stand Outside Polling Stations On Election Day
OTTAWA — A leading American expert on dirty political tricks says the robocalls scandal is a "shock to the system" of Canadian democracy.
"I was actually quite surprised because I thought that's a pretty good level of dirty trick," says Joseph Cummins, author of Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises. "Misdirecting voters to a different place is a pretty serious dirty trick because you're disenfranchising them and taking away their right to have a voice in their government."
An investigation by Postmedia News and the Ottawa Citizen last week revealed evidence of fraudulent pre-recorded phone calls made during the May federal election in the Guelph riding through services provided by the Edmonton-based voice-broadcast company RackNine Inc.
In further developments, it was found that live phone calls were made by callers posing as Liberal candidates in swing ridings. Elections Canada is also probing reports of false information about polling stations disseminated by a call centre in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Cummins says the use of voter-suppression phone calls and push-polling is nothing new south of the border. "In the United States, there has been a big push by Republican Party to keep poor people, usually Democrats, from voting. And they do this by enacting all sorts of onerous technical things to prevent them from registering to vote."
Cummins says that voter-suppression techniques have been in the works for hundreds of years in the U.S. and that the Canadian robocalls allegations reflect two particular election scandals in that country."