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.
Among the dozens of ridings reporting hoax phone calls in the 2011 election - some claim even a quarter of Canadian ridings - these were also Conservative victories. They may be outside the margin estimated of voters who might have been suppressed, but still worth noting:
Sault Ste-Marie, Ontario:
* February 29 update: Only once since 1935 did this town choose a Conservative MP - during former international trade minister and Solicitor General James Kelleher's 1984-88 term under prime minister Brian Mulroney. Otherwise, it's been a back-and-forth trade from NDP to Liberal for 77 years. Somehow, the Conservative party's Bryan Hayes won by 1,861 votes, or just shy of four per cent. (Source: National Post).
South Shore-St. Margaret's, Nova Scotia:
Granted, this riding has long been Conservative (since 1968, but for a single Liberal term in the 90s). Seven per cent – or 2,915 voters – handed the ruling party its win, but robo-calls were reported here, and could have been a factor, as well. (Source: Halifax Chronicle-Herald).
* March 21 update: Tories won by 3,228 votes - with hoax phone calls reported by Hill Times and the Liberal Party, as well as some voters discovering they'd "already voted" once they arrived at the poll.
* February 29 update: This new addition to the list of reported misleading election calls saw unknown Conservative candidate Brad Butt oust Liberal outreach co-chair Bonnie Crombie by 3,453 votes, or 6.8 per cent of the electorate. This Greater Toronto Area riding was Liberal back to 1997 (including its predecessor ridings).
Vancouver South, B.C.:
* March 21 update: It took 3,900 votes for Conservative Wai Young, the first Tory candidate to win a seat in Vancouver since 1988. Late-night calls impersonating the Liberal campaign of former BC premier Ujjal Dosanjh were reported by CBC.
Six per cent of voters (3,935 votes) was all it took to seize former Liberal Prime Minister John Turner's former riding – considered a Liberal stronghold since 1988, and before that since 1968 in one of its predecessor ridings. The Conservatives only won in this area twice – in 1976 and 1984. Now it's theirs. (Ottawa Citizen, Postmedia).
* March 21 update: You probably recognize this Toronto riding from its infamous natural resources minister MP: Joe “Foreign Radicals” Oliver, who smeared tar sands and Northern Gateway pipeline opponents as dangerous outsiders intent on damaging Canada's economy and security. But did you know he won by only 4,062 votes – and those bled mostly from Liberal to Conservative? Some are asking questions - especially with faux-Liberal calls to Jewish homes on the Sabbath, thousands of irregular voter registrations. (Source: Ottawa Citizen, CBC, Toronto Star, Liberals).