Saturday, March 3, 2012

Robocalls--Undermining Democracy

I think the rest of the world, if they have time to watch our news, must be rolling their eyes. Democracy is important. The right to vote too easily taken for granted here. I think of Iraq and the real threats that average people faced by radicals that threatened to kill anyone who went to the polling stations...and yet, people went.

Here we are, lamenting that some recorded phone messages tried to trick people into going to the wrong place to vote. And, that those phone calls happened has somehow delegitimized the entire process and we should throw out the election results and have another election. What? Are we serious? Don't we have real problems in this country without again getting all partisan and making stuff up as we go.

Let's stop and think this through. Someone gets a phonecall from a recording. What do 99% of us do? That's right. We hang up the phone. I'm amazed to find that folks are actually listening to these messages.  Unless it's Wayne Gretzky's recorded voice, I hang up just after I hear "this is an important message" or "you've just won a free cruise" or "you can consolidate your debt" or "your house is on fire" (okay, I haven't gotten that last phone call...but they would get points for creativity and I probably wouldn't hang up immediately--I'd smell for smoke first).

But, lets pretend for a moment that someone actually listened to the fraudulent message stating that the polling station had changed and then went to the new location only to find (insert dramatic, mystery-reveal music) that there was no polling station. "Well, Bob, that's it...I guess we can't vote now. Might as well go home and watch TV." "Of course, we could look at the VOTER REGISTRATION CARD that came in the mail, and that we brought with us, and see where it says we should go...maybe it's right after's close, let's just drive by on our way home." "Oh look, there's the voting sign. Well, let's go vote."

I think it's reprehensible that anyone should attempt to trick someone into not voting. But, so far, no one has claimed that they were unable to vote as a result of these hi-jinks, or that they were tricked into switching their vote. So, let Elections Canada do their work and find the guilty party/parties. And please, let's seriously tone down the rhetoric. Trying to stop someone from voting is vastly different than succeeding in that endeavour. Our system worked in spite of some idiots and to make a mountain out of a molehill just makes the public less likely to listen when there is actually something worthy of screaming "FIRE!"


  1. The only aspect that would cause me to call for a new election if Sr. enough members of the Conservative Party itself are convicted of the crime. In my mind, that would mean a criminal organization forms our government. That doesn't sit well with me.

    But that does have to be proven first. Suspicions and allegations are not enough.

  2. However, the serious allegations that individuals were trying to interfere with the election is a serious issue. It is way more than than a molehill. In the same way that attempted murder is still a serious crime, it isn't always the outcome that is judged, but the intent.

  3. Thanks for your comments. I agree that trying to interfere with an election is a serious issue. But, I've heard many folks calling for an entirely new election which thus nullifies all the votes actually cast. You don't get the same sentence for making a prank phone call as you do for rigging an election and, unless and until someone demonstrates that the actual outcome of the election was compromised, calling for new elections or by-elections is way over the top.

    1. Yes, calling for new elections is premature at this point. But anyone attempting to interfere with voters is a bit more than a prank call.

  4. I wonder if this does indeed lead back to the conservatives, however loosely or directly, would it likely change the votes many Canadians? I would think not. It's the goals, objectives, and vision for the country of a party for which people vote. Even if the Lib's, the Green's, or the NDP were to obtain moral perfection there is no way that they would ever receive my support. So what I am getting at, is that the way a party may or may not behave can have little to do with how the individual votes.
    As you suggested in your blog, the amount of people who may have been misdirected by robo-call, is most likely minimal and unlikely that it had an effect on a riding's results.
    But let me make this clear, I am not condoning this type of behaviour and I fully expect heads to roll. It just doesn't really change the outcome of this past or future elections.

  5. robocall issue has been completely overblown.. one riding perhaps involved, AND the direct proof of ndp interferance in teh vote is public knowledge in the physical moving of a poll i.e. holding an elections canada poll on a campus NOT AT THE designated location. DEMOCRACY is all about the safety and sanctity of the vote and I find that the left is usually the culprit in any organized attempt to subvert the vote. I have been a returning officer and volunteer on elections both federal and provincial and it always follow the pattern that the overwhelming desire to win by the left is done at all costs and with any expediency.

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