The Council of Canadians has posted a new series of documents in relation to their robocall litigation. As you can see, they are attempting to get an affidavit from an Elections Canada investigator, and Elections Canada is attempting to avoid this. More intriguingly, though, another couple of warrants have been released in the process. That’s what the press has been clamouring about, and I thought it would be good to take a close look.
One warrant was served on Shaw about one month ago — again, how the hell can Elections Canada possibly take so long in this investigation? — and seeks to get telephone records for a number of complainants regarding misdirection calls sent to them during the 2011 election campaign. Unlike in the Alan Matthews warrants, which pertain to Guelph, this warrant has the names redacted, but it refers to offences being committed in four provinces: Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia. The investigator for this file is John Dickson.
Here’s the Dickson allegations:
Electors in a number of Electoral Districts (ED) in Canada received telephone calls from a live or recorded caller(s). In some cases the caller purported to be calling as an official of Elections Canada. The content of the messages was to inform the elector that his or her polling station had been changed to another location, typically a further distance from the elector’s place of residence…
A number of electors received annoying, harassing and/or inconvenient telephone calls. The callers claimed to represent particular federal political parties, but because of the content, tone and/or time of day the calls were received (often early morning or late evening/night) and/or the frequency of the calls, the calls were intended to induce… or refrain from voting for a particular candidate.
That’s from the Shaw warrant. Another one went to Rogers, and a second investigator, Andre Thouin, filed papers for Videotron.
The fact that Elections Canada is only now sitting down to get the phone number from which these alleged misdirection calls originated is not encouraging. That means they’re at least a full year behind the Guelph robocall investigation, and that one was already so delayed that some key evidence had been erased in the normal course of purging records by various service providers, none of whom, I must emphasize, were implicated in any way in the investigation other than being the unlucky contractor selected by the crooks.
It is, however, fresh fuel for my new Poutine Project, an under-construction summary of electoral misdeeds. Over the next week or so, I will be combing through the new material and making a new list of affected ridings. Actually several lists: one for harassment calls, one for “Elections Canada” vote misdirection calls, one for “Conservative” vote misdirection calls, and one for unidentified vote misdirection calls. British Columbian ridings are going to be posted first, because they’re the first ones listed in the warrant. In British Columbia, according to Elections Canada, 20 ridings were affected by a range of crimes ranging from robocalls from Elections Canada to live calls supposedly from all political parties.