Mar 052012

This is a sampling of what our fellow citizens are saying and DOING.

Scroll through.  Many thanks to many of you, from all of us, for the input!

Item #1, Elizabeth May,  a critical piece of context that I haven’t seen in the mainstream media.

Item #6, CALL IT WHAT IT IS by Jim Harris.  The words used to frame an issue are critical in forming public understanding – – the line between propaganda and truth.

I apologize for that which I have missed!   There is another important point I wanted to make, but I can’t remember what it is!


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  1. ROBOCALL ELECTION FRAUD DID NOT START WITH THE 2011 ELECTION;  it had its beginning in Canada at least by the 2008 Election.

Click on Elizabeth May,   Robocall Pilot Project: Elections Canada Drops the Ball
in BC 2008

Elizabeth clarifies the current situation, and provides information on the 2008 Election robocalls.

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(Skimmed different articles.  I don’t think there is doubt that, at the very LEAST,  some Conservatives and some Liberals are using American capabilities.)

(published in the Globe & Mail – I was quite surprised that they printed the excerpt below.)

Exactly how dangerous is Stephen Harper?

gerald caplan

Globe and Mail Update  Published Friday, Mar. 02, 2012 4:39PM EST;  Last updated Monday, Mar. 05, 2012 5:11PM EST


In fact, I’m informed by a former Conservative operative familiar with both the party and technology that there’s far more to be revealed in this saga. This is said specifically to involve close ties between the Harperites and American Republicans who have been constructing a terrifying, full-blown voter suppression machine, as The Nation magazine, among others, has well documented and CBC Radio’s The Current has noted. I have no idea if this will be found to be true, but based on the record, it is surely not implausible.

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3. WHAT TO DO? . . .   I’D SAY   “ DO BOTH!”

There is good information on two options in the article  Tories go on offensive over robocalls.

Click on:

–          Public Inquiry  (many Canadians calling for)

–         Individual Canadians have the legal right to take action against electoral fraud (Council of Canadians organizing this action).  It seems to me to be a good tactic.  If you live in a riding where electoral fraud took place, join with others, use the Courts to obtain a by-election to right the wrong.   There will be more to report as things unfold.

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–   Hundreds rallied in Vancouver Saturday to protest the growing robocalls scandal.

–    OTTAWA—The controversy over harassing and phoney election calls drew a small crowd on Parliament Hill today as demonstrators braved bitter cold to denounce the robo-calls affair.  The Ottawa rally followed a demonstration last weekend in Vancouver that attracted a few hundred people. More protests are planned (this) week in Toronto and Calgary.–robo-calls-protesters-take-to-parliament-hill-over-misleading-phone-call-controversy

–         NATIONAL  DAY OF PROTEST:  Sunday, March 11.

Look for one in your area.

In Saskatoon, people are meeting in front of City Hall at 1:00 pm Sunday.   I don’t know who is organizing it.   Just show up!

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5.  PETITIONS? Talked about earlier,  see  2012-02-27  Robocall Election Fraud — Amazing response

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The robocall scandal isn’t about “dirty tricks”.  It isn’t about over-zealous people who “just want to win”.

It’s about election fraud and violating Constitutional rights.

It is not different from beating people up to prevent them from voting; it is only more technologically sophisticated.  This is banana republic stuff.

There’s A VERY GOOD ARTICLE BY JIM HARRIS, a Huffington Post blog.  Jim writes:

I published a blog titled: Let’s Call it What it is: ELection Fraud — which the HuffPo editors re-titled Harper Conquers Canada, One Robocall at a

I would very much enjoy your feedback on it — it’s at

I think this is a critical issue that isn’t being given the proper treatment.

The blog seems to have hit a chord as it was the top post for HuffPo with more than 1,500 likes, shares, tweets and comments — and it continues to trend — it’s already broken 2,000 by 6 am this morning.

Anything you could do to draw attention to it — post it on Facebook, tweet it out, etc would be greatly appreciated.

I look forward to your feedback.

Jim Harris

Former Leader, Green Party of Canada
Tel: 416 467 6006jimh  AT;  Twitter: @JimHarris;

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There is a whole lot of spin-doctoring going on. Hold a few examples in mind,  come back to them when you need bed-rock.   In the earlier
email there is a link to the recording on an answering machine of the cleverly-done robocall, purportedly from Elections Canada, saying that the
polling station is re-located.   There is no doubt about the Guelph robo-calls.   Now add this one from B.C.:

Woman got repeated calls for donations then was told of polling place change

CBC News
Posted: Mar 1, 2012 5:59 PM PT    Last Updated: Mar 1, 2012 11:55 PM PT

A Mission, B.C., woman says she was given misleading information by the Conservative Party a few days before the May 2011 federal election.

Astrid Dimond said she had been called six times for Conservative donations during the last election. After a seventh call, she said she did an
internet search on the caller’s phone number, which had shown up on her call display.

“It came up as the Conservative Party in Victoria,” Dimond said.

The next time she received a call from the same number, she told the caller she was supporting the NDP in the election in the hopes the calls would stop.

Two days before the election, Dimond said she got another call from the same number.

“[The caller] just said, ‘Did you know the polling station had changed,’ and basically, I said, ‘No it hasn’t,’ and that was the end of the conversation. I wouldn’t let her continue because I knew it was a falsehood.”

Dimond said some of her neighbours were getting similar calls and they all knew the information was wrong.

Complained to Elections Canada

Dimond said she sent a complaint to Elections Canada about the aggressive and ultimately misleading calling.

– – – -SNIP – – – –

“Your complaint will also be considered in context with a broader inquiry ongoing with regard to irritating calls that have been occurred during this general election campaign,” Elections Canada said.

The riding in which Dimond lives — Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission — has been held by Conservative Randy Kamp since 2004.

CBC News has been told about suspicious calls in nine B.C. ridings:

  • Burnaby-Douglas.
  • Burnaby-New Westminster.
  • New Westminster-Coquitlam.
  • North Vancouver.
  • Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge-Mission.
  • Prince George-Peace River.
  • Saanich-Gulf Islands.
  • Vancouver Quadra.
  • Vancouver South.

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BY Jim Harding  For publishing in R-Town News  Mar. 2, 2012

This is the first in a Series of four articles looking at how the Harper government is undermining democracy, justice and sustainability and what Canadians can do to prevent his political agenda from balkanizing Canada.

We need to protect the political freedoms we have in order to make Canada a more equal and sustainable society. Without robust political freedoms
the Harper government will continue to drive wedges between us for the benefit of a few, without regard for what climate change will do to our children.

We see historical examples of elected regimes centralizing power and aggressively attacking their opponents to gain dictatorial-like powers. Our
soldiers fought against fascist regimes to prevent this. Canada is not immune to this threat. Our democracy is presently being challenged perhaps more than at any other time. Reductions in voter turn-out and widespread cynicism about crass power plays and the lack of authenticity in politics have already weakened our democracy. There are growing signs that the present federal government intends to use its power to weaken democracy further.


Let’s look at the Harper record so far. While still a minority, Harper led the first Commonwealth government to ever be found in contempt of
Parliament. Those cynical about politics may not consider this anything special, but it is. The withholding of information, or misinforming Parliament, fundamentally undermines its ability to keep government transparent and accountable to the people. It is the first big step away from democracy.

Harper’s Ministers appeal to the “supremacy of parliament” as though having a majority of seats justifies dominating Parliament. This ploy was used when Harper dismantled the farmer-elected Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) without following the rule of law. But the supremacy of Parliament does not mean that majority governments can do an end-run on Parliament or existing legislation.  A government that acts like a one-party state is not working within the framework of parliamentary democracy.

For Harper it’s all about centralizing control. He has broken his promise to democratize the Senate by appointing a rash of Conservative cronies and defeated candidates to rubber-stamp his legislation. There will be no sober second thoughts in a Harper-dominated Senate. He’s even appointed an unelected person to his Cabinet. Contempt for our democracy was shown with Harper twice shutting down (proroguing of) Parliament to side-step democratic accountability.


Elections enable the voice of the people, popular sovereignty, to be expressed. Some politicians see elections as simply a means to obtain power, a means to manipulate voter behavior to squeeze out enough first-past-the-post votes to become government. Harper cleverly uses wedge issues to divide Canadians. His propaganda attack ads on opposition leaders not only manipulate half or non-truths, but his excessive spending in the 2006 campaign contravened the Elections Act. Using the “end justifies the means” mentality, the Conservatives concocted an “in and out” funding scheme that violated spending limits. Laws were broken by senior Conservative officials including partisan-appointed Senators. In accepting a plea bargain whereby the Conservative Party pleaded guilty and individual charges were dropped, the judge said that the breaches were “significant to the democratic process.”

The Harper government first came to power through electoral fraud, then used the inner control of state resources to work towards majority
government. Now we find that during the 2011 election last May, which had Harper squeezing out a majority with less than 3 out of 10 eligible voters, more electoral violations occurred. Misinformation about changes in the location of polling stations was systematically sent to thousands of Liberal supporters in 37 constituencies, many with tight races. These “robocalls” have been traced to an Edmonton firm, Racknine, linked directly to the Harper Conservatives. This scam directly benefitted the Conservatives and we will have to wait and see if Elections Canada finds a smoking gun. A rash of by-elections may be on the way.


To allow informed consent among voters, a democracy requires the free-flow of reliable information. Harper is fundamentally undermining this
process.  He rigidly controls contact between his Minister’s and the media and scripts the political lines used for public consumption. When the head of the regulatory body, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), called for a shut-down of the Chalk River nuclear reactor due to inadequate safety back-up, she was fired. When the Chief Statistician went head-to-head with the government over the need to maintain the long-form census to provide quality information for better needs assessment of Canadians, he was squeezed out.   (INSERT:  I disagree with Jim on this one.)  The Canadian Association of Science Journalists is now raising the alarm that government-employed scientists, paid from taxpayer’s funds, are being “muzzled” by Harper.  Harper has even abolished an Access to Information data base (CAIRS). His plan to abolish the per-vote subsidy for political parties would leave him and his powerful corporate funders even more able to monopolize political discourse with expensive attack-ad propaganda.


Harper’s contempt for the domestic rule of law is also shown internationally. He has systematically undermined international attempts to negotiate a treaty to avert atmospheric temperatures rising to an irreversible level. He turned his back on Canada’s commitments under the Kyoto Accord, which Parliament endorsed. In total disregard for the ruling of the Supreme Court, Harper is the only government which did not repatriate its citizens from the U.S.’s Guantanamo base. His government was among a handful that opposed the UN’s Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which affirms the “duty to consult” prior to any resource extraction or toxic dumping on indigenous land.

Harper refused to sign the UN Declaration designating safe water as a human right and refused funding for First Nations communities facing a desperate lack of safe water. His government has just been singled out for condemnation by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Harper is starting to give Canada a reputation as a “rogue state”.


His government is prepared to be even more draconian. Harper tried and failed several to pass legislation allowing his government to monitor
internet activities. Now with a majority, his Minister Toews has introduced Bill C-30 compelling internet providers to give police new surveillance powers without requiring a warrant. This act was brought forward with the deceptive moralistic title – the “Protecting Children from Internet Predator’s Act”, yet it would enable a massive internet sweep of political opponents. The attempt to send a chill among Canadians, with Toews claiming “either stand with us or the child pornographers”, has somewhat backfired; even some libertarian Conservatives have rallied for privacy protections and free speech on the internet.

This legislation needs to be placed aside Harper’s new counter-terrorist strategy which speaks of “violence by domestic issue-based groups…revolving around the promotion of various causes”. It then groups together dangerous neo-fascist white supremacy groups with “animal rights, environmental and anti-capitalist groups”.

Legitimate reform and opposition organizations are already coming under attack. Look at Harper’s Minister Oliver’s preemptive attack on Aboriginal and environmental groups opposing the Northern Gateway Pipeline, calling them “anti-Canadian radicals”; or the detention of 1,100 protesters at the G20 meeting in Toronto in 2010 without cause or arrest.

Harper seems intent on criminalizing those who are standing up for democracy, justice and sustainability. His attempt to militarize Canadian
culture is a most cynical ploy. We celebrate our military for fighting against fascism in order to protect the very rights and freedoms that Harper so
disregards. His law and order agenda to build-up police powers and prisons and to have government-prescribed sentences, further reduces the separation of power that is fundamental to a democracy.

This should all be a wake-up call for Canadians.

Next week I’ll look at the injustices that will result from Harper’s changes to social policy.

MORE at: and

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9    2009:  The Prime Minister is now in such command that he can get away with pretty much anything

by Lawrence Martin   Published on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009 6:15PM EST Last updated on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009 2:23AM EST

When you think about it, the way to make governing easy is to dispense as much as is possible with the demands of democracy. The d-word is a drag. It gets in the way of the exercise of power. Ways need be found to circumvent it.

There are a variety of such ways. One is to limit the voice of the bureaucracy, the public service, making it more submissive and partisan. Ditto the foreign service. As well, you want to dispense with agency or commission heads who don’t follow your thinking. If some agencies get particularly
meddlesome, such as Elections Canada, take them to court.

There’s an old-fashioned idea, once a Reform Party thing, that regular people – those grassroots folks – should have a sniff of the action. As nice as it sounds, don’t go there. You need to amass unparalleled executive power so everything is top down and put through the filter of politics. For your own caucus, you enforce such tight discipline that no one dare cast an independent vote. You issue your members a secret handbook on how to disrupt parliamentary committees. For Question Period, you instruct your members to answer most queries with a putdown of the previous government’s record. . . . .. .


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In Berlin, I was told German history offers a lesson for Canadian democracy.

By Michael Byers, 26 January 2012,

EXCERPT: “The real surprise,” I explained, “is that Harper does not appear satisfied with the extensive powers that are normally available to a majority government.”

I tell my German colleague about the government’s practice of invoking closure, with a frequency never before seen in Canada, to prevent elected MPs from debating major legislation such as the omnibus crime bill and a bill that will add dozens of new seats to the Commons.

About how, increasingly, the government moves the business of parliamentary committees behind closed doors, so that it can conceal embarrassing documents and reject witnesses proposed by opposition parties without fear of public censure.

Warning, with a smile

Finally, I explain how the Federal Court ruled in Dec. 2011 that a bill to abolish the Canadian Wheat Board was illegal because it violated a statutory requirement to poll wheat farmers first. No matter: the government adopted the bill anyway.

This led Peter Russell, the doyen of Canadian constitutional law, to warn: “Canadians should understand that at stake here is not just a technical point of law, but the integrity of parliamentary government.”

At this point, a wry smile crosses the German professor’s face.

“Professor Russell is right,” he says. “It’s all about understanding. Here in Germany, we sometimes learn our lessons too late.”

Michael Byers holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia and serves on the board of the Salt Spring Forum.

  One Response to “2012-03-05 Robocalls, history in Canada. Call it what it is. What to do?”

  1. Sunday, March 11 Canada wide Protests to Protect our Right to Vote!
    23 cities, 2,500 going, 27,000 invited!
    Can we reach 3,000?
    DC put a call out early last week and we are amazed with the results!
    We thank all our friends that make these cross Canada protests possible!

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