Election fraud? The Harper Conservatives? Oh, say it ain't so, Joe. But apparently it is so, very much so.
Elections Canada launched its investigation after it was inundated with complaints about election day calls in Guelph, Ont., one of 18 ridings across the country where voters were targeted by harassing or deceptive phone messages in an apparent effort to discourage Liberal supporters from voting.
In Guelph, a riding the Conservatives hoped to take from the Liberals, voters received recorded calls pretending to be from Elections Canada, telling them their polling stations had been moved. The calls led to a chaotic scene at one polling station, and likely led some voters to give up on voting.
...the Conservatives are conducting an internal probe. A party lawyer is interviewing campaign workers to find who was behind the deceptive “robocalls.”
...Elections Canada traced the calls to Racknine Inc., a small Edmonton call centre that worked for the party’s national campaign and those of at least nine Conservative candidates, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s own campaign in Calgary Southwest.
Using telephone billing records and Racknine server logs, Elections Canada investigators identified the Racknine account holder who sent out the calls.
Matt Meier, owner of Racknine, said he was unaware one of his customers was involved in the calls until contacted by Elections Canada in November.
He said he knows whose account was used for the calls, but could not reveal the owner, because of client confidentiality and concerns about interfering with the investigation. He said it was someone “down East” — meaning Ontario or Quebec.
In a party whose leader wants so desperately to emulate his American idols in the Republican Party, scummy and even criminal tricks like this aimed at perverting Canadian democracy probably shouldn't come as much of a surprise. After all, everyone knows how much democracy means to Stephen Harper and he sets the tone for everyone else in that fetid organization.