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Uffish Thoughts: Sometimes those phone calls are from the Conservative Party March 19, 2012

Posted by klondykewriter in Uffish Thoughts.
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Uffish Thoughts: Sometimes those phone calls are from the Conservative Party

By Dan Davidson

March 4, 2012

March 6/12

– 685 words –

I had a call from the Conservative Party of Canada last week.  Well it wasn’t actually from the party. It wasn’t a “robo-call” either; there was an actual person on the line. It wasn’t a long call. She thanked me for my time and signed off as soon as I told her that, no, I wasn’t a fan of Mr. Harper’s merry band.

It’s not the first such call I have had. There have been at least a couple of others over the last four years.

I wondered, later, whether I should have told her as much as I did. Now I’m in some ReformaTory database and could be the target of a misleading telephone message a few years down the line.

As luck would have it, the Klondike riding always has its polling place in the Yukon Order of Pioneers Hall, so it would be hard to mislead anyone.

I’ve been listening to the news and the chattering pundits about this tale of electoral skullduggery and can understand why it’s so easy to assume the Harperites might have done this. After all, they were the ones who broke the rules related to campaign spending in the previous election, using an “In/Out” ploy to allow themselves to spend more on campaigns than was legal.

In that case we know for certain they did it because they plead guilty and paid a small fine for their sins. Unfortunately none of the MPs or Senators involved were required to resign or serve time.

That was considered a kind of misdemeanor by Elections Canada. Actually depriving voters of their franchise by sending them to phantom polling stations would be a much bigger deal.

While close to 31,000 of these incidents, involving 40 some ridings, have been reported in the news as I write this column, only the ones attributed to the amusingly named “Pierre Poutine” and the ones where the call centre staff caught on that they were being used to do something wrong and stopped doing it are definite cases.

A change of 40 some seats probably would not change the government. If they all came from the Conservatives and went to the Liberals, Mr. Harper would still have at least a minority government, and he behaves much the same way whether he has a majority or not.

With both the Liberals and NDP currently in search of new leadership, neither would have wanted to provoke a new election during the last eight months, so things would have worked out much the same as they have since last May.

So far the Conservatives are responding to the polling station issue by doing what they usually do: denying first and then trying to spin the messaging into a counterattack.

Hearing the Prime Minister declaim that all the calls actually came from the Liberals made me laugh. If most of the voters targeted were Liberal supporters, as so far seems to be the case, why would the Grits want them to be unable to vote?

Granted that the Liberals have been plagued by some abysmal lapses of judgement in recent years, there really haven’t been any indications that they were actually suicidal.

Mr. Harper seemed to be suggesting that they did it do that they could complain about it later. Makes no sense at all.

Later, when one of the Tory MPs tried to connect the Liberal Party to the calls, it turned out that his information was wrong and that the Liberals weren’t using the US based call center he had said they were. I noticed that it was not Mr. Harper who rose to apologize for this error.

Say what you will about the Liberals, it was their Acting Leader Bob Rae who took upon himself the task of apologizing for the “Viki-leaks” affair, even though it was someone else in his Party that did the deed of harassing The Public Safety Minister Vic Toews after his over-the-top defense of the Internet spying bill.

 

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