Robocall scandal by the numbers: 200 ridings allege election fraud
Opposition vote-stealing allegations are unproven, but misleading election phone calls are now reported in up to 200 ridings - some of them razor-thin Conservative wins as low as 18 votes. VO crunches the numbers to bring you 11 "Tory majority" fraud-call ridings to watch.
1. Nipissing-Timiskaming, Ontario:
* February 28 update - The closest Conservative victory in the entire country was by a razor-thin 18 votes in this riding in Ontario's far north. And today, it was added to the list of reported misleading phone calls. 18 people is the size of a small extended family, or a single Vancouver community mini-bus, or your immediate neighbours. Nipissing-Timiskaming (and its earlier incarnations) have, but for only a few exceptions, been solid Liberal going back to the Great Depression era - and Liberal support had been growing from a 5.2 per cent lead in 2004, to a 10.2 point lead in 2006, to 12.3 per cent in 2008. How Jay Aspin (Conservative) jumped ahead of three-term Liberal MP Anthony Rota by only 0.1 per cent last year is a question many will be asking.
“I think there should be some kind of inquiry,” Rota told Global News. “It’s important to identify what was done, who did it and to punish them to the full extent of the law as soon as possible.” (Source: National Post, CBC)
2. Etobicoke Centre, Ontario:
Won by a paltry 26 votes, Conservative candidate Ted Opitz knocked out the long-ruling Liberal Party which had solidly held this Toronto-region riding since 1993. This was the former riding of well-known Chretien health and justice minister Allan Rock, and losing it would have been a shocking blow to the Liberals. Harassing phone calls, and widespread irregularities, were reported here in a case that will go to court in April. (Source: Toronto Star, Global News, Liberals).
3. NEW: Yukon:
* March 21 update: This northern territory saw a surprise Conservative win by only 132 voters, or 0.8 per cent of the electorate - all it took to clinch the electoral gold rush here. The Yukon hasn't been Conservative since the 80s - for decades, the Conservative Party has trailed in this riding, which was NDP from 1987 until the Liberals grabbed it in 2000 and held it ever since. (Source: CBC).
4. Elmwood-Transcona, Man.:
A 300-vote win by the Tories over the NDP. The Conservatives' Lawrence Toet kicked out the left-leaning party's historic 87-year hold on this Winnipeg suburb (under its predecessor, the Canadian Commonwealth Federation). To say Elmwood-Transcona was a historic riding for the NDP would be a gross understatement: the former seat of long-time parliamentarian and United Church minister Bill Blaikie, this riding was also the base for famous NDP and United Church churchmen J.S. Woodsworth (forebear of former Vancouver councillor and current VO columnist Ellen Woodsworth) and Stanley Knowles. (Source: CBC).
5. NEW: Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Sask.:
* April 2 update: This prairie riding is part of a historic lawsuit to repeal the 2011 election results, filed by the Council of Canadians on behalf of resident Kay Burkhart. From 1988 until 2000, this riding and its predecessors were NDP or Liberal (but for one of its four forebears), but the Progressive Conservative-Reform merger nudged the conservatives ahead by only 68 votes back then. Fast-forward to 2011, and the NDP had regained some lost ground, inching to within 1.8 per cent of Conservative incumbent Kelly Block's 538 vote lead until fraudulent Elections Canada calls redirected some voters to wrong polls. (Source: CBC).
6. Mississauga East-Cooksville, Ont.:
This one was sealed by 676 voters – and with thousands of harassing and robo-calls alleged, it's conceivable that more than this number of citizens may have been discouraged from voting – or sent to the wrong place altogether. Just west of Toronto, this riding has been Liberal since 2004, and before that its parent ridings (before a redistribution) were Liberal going back to the 80s but for a single Conservative term. (Source: Globe and Mail, Postmedia).