Democracy, for some, is an exercise in hoodwinking voters


Elections Canada has traced fraudulent phone calls made during the federal election to an Edmonton voice-broadcast company that worked for the Conservative Party across the country.

While the agency investigates, aided by the RCMP, the Conservatives are conducting an internal probe. A party lawyer is interviewing campaign workers to find who was behind the deceptive “robocalls.”

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.

A Citizen-Postmedia investigation has found calls misdirecting voters were also reported in ridings across the country: Kitchener-Waterloo, Kitchener-Conestaga, London-West, Parkdale-High Park, Winnipeg South Centre and Sydney-Victoria. It is possible that they were caused by robo-dialing errors.

Liberal supporters in a dozen ridings, mostly in Ontario, reported mysterious harassing calls, often late in the evening or early in the morning, where rude callers from a phone bank pretended to be working for the Liberals. The calls seem to have been an attempt to alienate Liberal voters in ridings where the Liberals and Conservatives seemed to be in close contests.

I guess when you are shooting for a majority with polls that indicate you may still be in minority territory, anything goes. I predict that these illegal calls, clearly an orchestrated campaign across several ridings, will lead to a slap on the wrist and exactly one (1) low-level staffer or volunteer being underbussed. I also have to ask: is it common for one party to have the membership list(s) for the other parties? These illegal phone calls were specifically targetting Liberal supporters in what pollsters thought would be close Con/Lib ridings.

PS – Sorry about linking to the National Pest, but they seem to have the best information available. Kudos to Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor. Maybe Andrew Coyne’s editorial presence is doing some good over there?


The Urban Transit Blues

I was made aware a few days ago that HRM is enduring a transit strike – a few people I know don’t own vehicles and have some level of dependence on mass transit to get to work, which makes it particularly painful. Even with its limitations, it was, in my opinion, better than nothing. In fact, one of the things I miss most about le Homestead is the commute by ferry every day. I have read with appreciation the adaptations undertaken by my fellow ‘Koggers, who are by far the most resourceful folk I’ve ever shared a series of electronic impulses with.

Compare and contrast that with the efforts of our Mayor here in T’ranna, Rob Ford, who, like many politicians, is eager to bury his mistakes; unfortunately, he seems to be confused as to what that means – the battle is on between the supporters of Ford’s vision of GTA transit, which is more subways, and the majority of council, which supports light rail (LRT). The issue in Ford’s mind seems to concentrate on the feelings of burning hatred the residents of the ‘burbs, like Scarborough, feel for the downtown ‘Path’-dwelling Morlocks of the inner city. Notwithstanding the problem of opposing communities is actually a result of Ford clumsily playing one faction off against the other, which, to the eyes of an outsider (like myself, for instance) appears to be the only way he could get elected in the first place.

Now, this is just my opinion, mind you, but I travel to Scarborough quite frequently (most weekends), and it is a combination of subway and LRT travel. Of the two, I vastly prefer subways – fast and unaffected by weather. If, however, the choice is between more LRT to service outlying areas and fewer new subway lines, the economy tends to tilt the balance toward the ‘bang for the buck’ option. As the author of the linked article points out, the city centre isn’t exactly thriving from a mass transit perspective; I’ve taken the St. Clair streetcar several times, and I quite like it, but it is unaffected by the frequent delays experienced by the downtown routes. It is the peril of sharing the roads with thousands of cranky drivers during the interminable rush hours. The battles between neighbourhoods is illusory and purely political in nature.

The System is All. Long Live the System.

Love it or hate it, a robust transit system is a necessity for a thriving urban area. Even those who grumbled at the increase in transit rates in January just gritted their teeth and paid more because they know there is no viable alternative. Surely if we remove the artificially-created volatility we can make some progress in creating a system that works for everyone. If leadership is the problem, I have a feeling that this situation is temporary. VERY temporary.

Ok, is it weird that I have a favorite subway stop? This is "Museum", under the ROM.

In the meantime, good luck to my commuting friends in the HRM!!


Greetings from the Centre of the Universe

Since my last post a dog’s age ago, I have moved to the City that Never Shuts the Hell Up – Toronto, Ontario. I’m not exactly on the coast, or even near the coast anymore (Lake? Pffft.), but I thought I’d poke my head up, gopher-like, to say hello to my fellow ‘Koggers. I’ve been thinking I’d like to get back into actively blogging again, and if my fellow authors have no objection, I’d like to jump back in. The site, for what it’s worth, will then have about a third of the country covered, at least if you are measuring distance from one coast to the other.


My new secret Flash lair