The Future of Fraud Enforcement

Photo Jacob Roberts

On March 11, thousands of Canadian voters gathered in major cities across the country to protest the robocalls election scandal.

The Conservative Party has publicly denied allegations that they were involved with the incident, which came to light earlier this month, in which voters in numerous ridings across Canada were directed to the wrong polling locations during the most recent federal election, which took place May 2, 2011.

One of the speakers at the protest in Montreal, New Democratic Party Minister of Parliament Hoang Mai, spoke with The Link afterwards.

“Elections Canada has asked a committee for more information, to get more documents and the government has actually voted against this in committee. [But] they said they will support a motion,” said Mai.

But the motion to allow investigators greater power to access information was passed unanimously in the House of Commons on Monday.

Put forward by the NDP, the motion is non-binding, but allows the Chief Electoral Officer the power to compel parties to give him documentary evidence, such as receipts.

A spokesperson for Elections Canada, who couldn’t speak to the status of an ongoing investigation, said that the motion doesn’t concern only the robocalls scandal, but that it is a larger motion to help Elections Canada deal with cases of fraud in the future.

“We were pretty disappointed, it’s the least I can say. There was an attack on democracy. That’s new for Canada,” said Mai. “Going to that point was really shocking. It really affected us as the Members of Parliament […] because we know that it was an attack on democracy. That was really, really shocking.”

The anonymous man allegedly responsible for the robocalls scandal, known only as “Pierre Poutine,” was supposedly set to step forward on Monday, though as of press time no such person had done so.

Poutine had allegedly decided to take responsibility after discovering his IP address had been traced by Matt Meier, CEO of RackNine, the Edmonton call centre responsible for sending out the robocalls.

RackNine also worked on the Conservative Party’s national campaign, as well as the campaigns of at least nine Conservative Candidates.

Poutine’s automated phone calls erroneously informed over 31,000 voters from 77 ridings that their polling stations had moved, making the calls to the biggest case of election fraud in Canadian history.

He covered his tracks by using a prepaid credit card to buy a prepaid cellphone, registered an account under a fake name and address, then set up his cellphone under a different fake name and address: Pierre Poutine of Separatist Street, Joliette, QC.

Michael Sona, the campaign communications director who worked for Conservative MP Eve Adams—representative for Mississauga-Brampton, one of the 77 affected ridings—left his job after the robocalls story broke.

Sona told CTV News that he had no involvement.

However, a woman who identified herself as Sona’s mother told The Ottawa Citizen that she considered the situation “a setup from day one.”

“It’s interesting that Matt Meier found the code when he’s working for the Conservative party,” she told The Citizen.