By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 0 Comments
Glen McGregor publishes the latest attempt to quantify the partisanship that has come to dominate that time. Eric Grenier published a similar analysis last September. Three years ago, Evan Sotiropoulos studied the 38th and 39th parliaments to chart the rise in attacks.
There are, in my mind, if it is agreed that this is a problem, two possible solutions: move the time for statements by members to a less conspicuous time in the schedule or, as I wrote yesterday, remove the parties’ power over who gets to speak during that time.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 1:42 PM - 0 Comments
Glen McGregor figures the Conservatives would be favoured to win the new riding of Nepean.
A Citizen analysis using 2011 poll-by-poll results shows that, had this smaller riding been in place in the last election, Poilievre would still have won easily with 51 per cent of the popular vote and an 11,000-vote plurality over the nearest challenger. Though rock-solid, Conservative support in the area is not quite as strong as it is within the larger boundaries of the existing Nepean-Carleton riding, which includes rural areas that helped earn Poilievre 54 per cent of the total votes.
The Liberals and New Democrats would do only slightly better in the new riding, the poll breakdowns show. The Liberals would have finished with 27 per cent of the vote and the New Democrats with 18 per cent, both only small gains. The pattern is similar using results from the 2008 election, when 52 per cent of electors in polls that are now in the proposed Nepean riding would have voted for Poilievre.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, August 27, 2012 at 4:31 PM - 0 Comments
The big unions who participated in this scheme include the United Steelworkers, the Canadian Labour Congress, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Canadian Machinists Political League, the International Association of Firefighters, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. This last union represents many members of the media.
The Maclean’s newsroom is unionized through the CEP, which obviously explains everything I’ve written over the last six years.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at 5:04 PM - 0 Comments
Two weeks ago, Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher reported that three donors to Dean Del Mastro’s 2008 campaign had been reimbursed for their donations by a company owned by Mr. Del Mastro’s cousin. Today, McGregor and Maher report that two donors have produced cheques from Deltro Electric Ltd. of Mississauga, Ont in the amount of $1,050.
One of the cheques obtained by the Citizen is payable to a former Deltro employee who, earlier this month, signed a statutory declaration describing how Deltro staff were asked to enlist family and friends in the alleged reimbursement scheme. David Del Mastro “advised me at that time that he wanted to make a large monetary donation to the re-election campaign of his cousin, Dean Del Mastro Member of Parliament,” the statement said. “My employer assured me that if I would do so, my employer would cause his company, Deltro Electric Ltd. to reimburse me for the full sum of $1,000, plus a further bonus of $50, and that I would receive an income tax receipt for the donation.”
The alleged scheme was intended to circumvent the limit on political donations, the former employee said.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 4:42 PM - 0 Comments
Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher uncover a new twist.
Nearly a year after the investigation began, the agency is trying to determine why database records provided by the party appear to be missing entries that could help identify who downloaded the phone numbers used to make fraudulent robocalls, according to a source familiar with the probe … The investigators have inquired about CIMS logs for one particular user in the party’s headquarters. The logs show blanks between this person’s CIMS logon and logoff on the day the Guelph data was accessed, according to the source.
Whatever this may or may not amount to—and let’s stress that there’s no proof here of really anything—the NDP has already issued a Watergate reference (see below).
Update 4:51pm. And below the NDP release, a statement from the Conservative Party.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 1:43 PM - 0 Comments
The Council of Canadians is challenging the election result in seven ridings.
The voter suppression tactics alleged in the litigation include “calls that misdirected electors to the wrong poll or calls of a harassing nature intended to discourage support for a particular candidate,” said Ottawa lawyer Steven Shrybman, who represents the council.
Shrybman said these cases test new ground by asking the court to weigh the effects of a pattern of voter suppression, not just specific acts that have characterized the few legal challenges of past election results. ”We don’t know exactly what the standards will be,” he said. “How do you measure the effect of voter suppression techniques on the result?”
The seven ridings are Don Valley East, Winnipeg South Centre, Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Vancouver Island North, Yukon, Nipissing-Timiskaming and Elmwood-Transcona. Winnipeg South Centre, Nipissing-Timiskaming and Elmwood-Transcona are all included on my list of ridings where suspicious calls about polling stations were reported. Following media reports, Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher add Yukon and Vancouver Island North to that list.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 26, 2012 at 1:59 PM - 0 Comments
Amid this weekend’s NDP convention frenzy, Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher uncovered a new twist in the tale of Pierre Poutine.
According to Mathews, the second message “had the appearance of being in support of the Frank Valeriote (Liberal Party) campaign in Guelph. The voice sounded to me as though computer generated rather than a script read by a person.” Poutine had set up a call display number with RackNine, also not used, that corresponded to Valeriote’s campaign office during the election.
A spokesman for Valeriote said Friday that their campaign has never used RackNine’s services. The strange call in support of Valeriote suggests it may have been intended to annoy the Liberal candidate’s supporters. In other ridings, numerous voters have complained of calls allegedly coming from Liberal candidates that came late at night or early in the morning.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
The company that Pierre Poutine used to make his robocalls would seem to employ an individual who may or may not exist.
Meier, who is said to be helping Elections Canada with their investigation and has repeatedly said he had no knowledge of the “Poutine” robocalls, has declined to comment on McKnight’s identity. In an interview, when asked how a reporter could get in touch with McKnight, he said “you don’t,” and hung up.
Later, he referred queries to his lawyer, R. Justin Matthews, who offered a cryptic reply. “How does one define a real person?” said Matthews in an email. “Would a web-design employee that chooses to use a different name online (which some people seem to do these days) be considered a real person?”
Meanwhile, Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher talk to the wife of the Conservative candidate in Guelph.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 16, 2012 at 10:30 AM - 0 Comments
The CBC thinks it has detected a pattern.
An investigation by CBC News has turned up voters all over Canada who say the reason they got robocalls sending them to fictitious polling stations was that they’d revealed they would not vote Conservative.
Although the Conservative Party has denied any involvement in the calls, these new details suggest that the misleading calls relied on data gathered by, and carefully guarded by, the Conservative Party.
The Chief Electoral Officer says Elections Canada is looking at 700 suspicious calls. Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher look at the investigation. The NDP goes to Peterborough. And the story goes international.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor tease the big reveal.
The news that Elections Canada investigators are aware of the IP address that “Pierre Poutine” used to set up the Guelph, Ont., robocall account has convinced a suspect to step forward and accept responsibility for the deceptive calls, sources say … the CEO of RackNine, Matt Meier, was able to trace Poutine’s electronic trail back to a specific Internet protocol address, which is apparently assigned to a single home. Sources say that revelation has now convinced someone to step forward and own up to the scheme.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 5, 2012 at 8:54 PM - 0 Comments
Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher report that Elections Canada is investigating the expenses of the Conservative campaign in Guelph.
Elections Canada investigators probing the robocalls scandal are interviewing workers on the Conservative campaign in Guelph, Ont., and trying to determine why payments made to an Edmonton voice-broadcasting company were not declared in financial reports filed with the agency…
Elections Canada wants to know why the costs of automated calls the campaign has admitted sending out never appeared in the campaign’s expense report, as required by law.
The Star reports that Elections Canada is now investigating calls in Nipissing—Timiskaming
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 9:30 AM - 0 Comments
Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor look at the investigation in Guelph.
A production order executed on RackNine Inc. in Edmonton compelled the company to turn over all emails, billing records and other correspondence between it and “the Conservative party general election campaign in Guelph.” The court order also required the Conservative-connected company to hand over the user names, passwords and IP addresses of anyone associated with the Guelph campaign who used RackNine between March 26 and May 31.
The order also required RackNine to release records of calls that used the number 450-760-7746. The Bell Canada phone number in Joliette, Que., appeared on call displays of some recipients of the fraudulent election day calls in Guelph. Sources close to the investigation have indicated the number was assigned to a disposable “burner” cellphone, purchased with cash and then used to call RackNine.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM - 0 Comments
Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher identify 14 ridings where voters received harassing phone calls.
Many received calls in the middle of the night from callers claiming they represented the local Liberal candidate. Jewish voters in two ridings complained of receiving repeated phone calls at meal time on the Saturday Sabbath. In another riding where the Liberal candidate was of Pakistani heritage, some said the callers mimicked a South Asian accent. People who received the calls report that the callers would phone repeatedly, irritating the recipients, and then speak to them rudely.
The Liberal campaign alerted the media to this during the last campaign.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, February 24, 2012 at 7:10 PM - 0 Comments
Various allegations of phone mischief were made during the last federal campaign and various ridings have been cited this week in connection to the fraudulent calls being investigated by Elections Canada. Because the allegations vary—rude calls, late night calls, calls about polling stations, etc—it’s probably worth clarifying how many ridings may have been impacted by calls meant to misdirect voters to fake or incorrect polling stations.
Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher identified seven such ridings.
The robocalls received in Guelph were recorded in female voices in both French and English. They told voters their polling stations had moved to a shopping mall in the city’s downtown, where parking was scarce.
A Citizen-Postmedia investigation has found calls misdirecting voters were also reported in ridings across the country: Kitchener-Waterloo, Kitchener-Conestoga, London-West, Parkdale-High Park, Winnipeg South Centre and Sydney-Victoria. It is possible that they were caused by robo-dialing errors.
Beyond that, there is what was reported nine months ago. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 8:53 PM - 0 Comments
Q4$: Topp $157K | Mulcair $146K | Nash $108K | Dewar $94K | Cullen $86K | Singh $49K | Chisholm $35K | Saganash $17.5K | Ashton $10K
Contrib count to
#ndpldr‘s: Mulcair 621 | Dewar 456 | Cullen 442 | Nash 347 | Topp 278 | Singh 110 | Saganash 87 | Chisholm 64 | Ashton 58
Glen McGregor has graphed the numbers between September and December to show the trend over the first few months of the campaign.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 30, 2012 at 10:30 AM - 0 Comments
Mulcair said prior to 2011 he contributed to his own riding association or election campaigns because it was the only way to ensure that the money would remain in Quebec and be used to build NDP support in that province.
“We’ve given thousands of dollars to the party since I was elected in 2007,” Mulcair said in an interview with iPolitics. “Prior to the breakthrough (in the May 2011 election), most of the money I would give was to the riding association for obvious reasons – we were cash poor in Quebec and whenever we did fundraising, it went to the federal party.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at 11:32 AM - 2 Comments
Glen McGregor wonders if the Conservatives will refund the $187,298 they were reimbursed as a result of the In-and-Out scheme.
Elections Canada says none of the 17 have returned their reimbursements. Asked if it will take steps to recover the money, Elections Canada spokesperson Diane Benson said, “We would follow the normal administrative process for the recovery of any debt owed to the Crown.”
Conservative Party spokesman Fred DeLorey responded in an email, ”The question of reimbursements will be dealt with in the ongoing civil proceedings.” By that, he means the case the Tories brought against Elections Canada, which will be heard in the Supreme Court of Canada.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 1:17 PM - 70 Comments
(This post last updated at 8:24pm.)
Both the Ottawa Citizen and CTV are reporting word of a settlement in the in-and-out case, possibly in relation to the charges against four Conservative party officials. Full history of the in-and-out controversy here.
Update 1:18pm. Canadian Press has details.
The party is set to agree to what a caucus source called “administrative imperfection” for the way it handled advertising spending during the 2006 federal election. As a result, sources say charges against four senior Conservative officials – including two senators – for breaking the Elections Act are being dropped.
Update 1:24pm. Glen McGregor’s FAQ is probably the easiest way to get up to speed. Last March, the House passed a motion deeming the financing scheme to be “an act of electoral fraud.” Three years ago, chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand explained his view in detail before a parliamentary committee.
Update 2:46pm. The Globe confirms.
In return, the Conservative Party of Canada and its fundraising arm are pleading guilty to lesser charges that characterize what took place as a mere error instead of intentional misconduct. At the same time, the charges against four Conservative officials – two sitting senators – are being dropped.
CTV reports the party has been fined $50,000. The Supreme Court will still apparently hear the separate dispute between the Conservative party and Elections Canada.
Update 3:24pm. A statement from Elections Canada. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 24, 2011 at 4:40 PM - 13 Comments
Glen McGregor spots an informative cartoon on the website of Conservative MP David Anderson.
The Wheat Board official Mr. Smith (portrayed by a bald character in a tie) responds in monotone, “Slow down, young man. You’re talking Eskimo” — that is, he sounds foreign or makes no sense.
Wheat Board Guy explains how the existing rules govern crop sales, and Franklin replies, “How can such a system exist in Canada? That sounds sort of Communist.” Later in the video Mr. Smith says, There you go, talking Eskimo again.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 9:36 AM - 3 Comments
Glen McGregor notes that, while Dean Del Mastro thinks “a lot of Canadians would be really troubled to know that we are spending an awful lot of taxpayers’ money on a court case where in fact they’re funding both sides of it” so far as it concerns the CBC, two federal departments are also fighting the information commissioner in court.
But both the Department of Justice and Public Safety Canada are currently locked in their own complex litigation against Legault over other documents … And just as CBC wants to exercise exemptions from releasing records because they pertain to journalistic, programming or creative activities, the government is claiming its own exemptions from the open-records law. It contends solicitor-client privilege trumps the requirement to release the documents.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 9:48 AM - 0 Comments
Glen McGregor notes that the police commissioner for whom the Harper government named the new RCMP headquarters left a debatable record.
The Mounties’ new shop is named for former RCMP Commissioner Maurice Nadon. Pop open any of three volumes of the McDonald Commission reports into the RCMP’s barn burning, mail opening and other illegal activities in the 1970s, and you’ll quickly come across Nadon’s name.
Vic Toews says of Nadon that “the good certainly outweighs any criticisms he might have been put to.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, September 12, 2011 at 5:20 PM - 7 Comments
Glen McGregor translates one email and posts video of Bob Dechert’s promised smile for the cameras. John Baird brushes it all off and says Mr. Dechert will keep his job, while security officials seemingly gave the Conservative MP a pass.
“The renewal of background checks on members of the ministry and parliamentary secretaries has been finalized,” says the note, signed by Wayne Wouters, Clerk of the Privy Council. “In 2008, the Prime Minister requested that security background checks on Ministers, Ministers of State and Parliamentary Secretaries, and their spouses or partners, be renewed every two years while the appointee occupies a position as Minister, Minister of State or Parliamentary Secretary.”
Further details in the note are censored. But Dechert retained his position as parliamentary secretary immediately after the March security check – and became parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the cabinet shuffle soon after the May 2 election campaign.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 4, 2011 at 2:17 PM - 128 Comments
Glen McGregor answers all your in-and-out questions.
Didn’t the other parties do the same thing?
Not according to the CEOC. The major parties all transfer money back and forth between their national campaign and candidate campaigns, and between candidate campaigns. Some parties’ candidates have also participated in pooled media buys — typically, a group of candidates in nearby ridings buy an ad together and share the costs. The CEOC maintains this is fundamentally different because these candidates legitimately incurred the costs of the ads, whereas the cost of the ads claimed by the Conservatives candidates were incurred by the party.
By Andrew Potter - Monday, May 31, 2010 at 5:08 PM - 2 Comments
One of the great pleasures — and what in many ways I miss most…
One of the great pleasures — and what in many ways I miss most — of my time at the Ottawa Citizen was working with Glen McGregor. The press gallery is a herd animal even at the best of times, but Glen is one of the few members who refuses to run with the crowd. Not, I think, out of any great contrarian disposition. It’s just more that Glen thinks about journalism in a different way than most of his colleagues on the Hill. He is endlessly creative, relentlessly funny, and deeply inquisitive. He has a way of taking the smallest nugget of off-beat information and turning it into a dynamite story. (Not always a front page story, but that’s a complaint for another time).
That alone would be enough to make him one of the best in the business, but add to that his skills, almost unique in Canada as far as I can tell, at computer-assisted reporting, and you have one of the most fearsome journalistic weapons in the country. More times than I could count, Glen would present me with a cool story that he’d worked up by taking data from some public website or another and putting it through some neat filter or another. “How’d you do that?” I’d ask. “Ah, it was easy, I just wrote a little script for scraping the data…” he’d start.
If it was easy, more journalists would do it. But they –we — don’t, which is why Glen and his hot room colleague Stephen Maher won a much, much deserved award this past weekend from the Canadian Association of Journalists. It was in the category of Computer Assisted Reporting, for the work they did showing that a disproportionate share of the federal stimulus money was spent in ridings held by Conservative MPs.
Oh, and did I mention that Glen is also one of the leaders in bringing the tools of social media into the newsroom? He was, among other things, the first journalist in Canada to live-tweet from a courtroom, obtaining permission to do so from the trial of Ottawa mayor Larry O’Brien last summer. I have to say that I never in a million years thought the judge would go for it. Glen just asked, and just did it.
What is derisively called (around here, and pretty much everywhere else you’ll find a comment board) the “MSM” takes a lot of criticism. If we had more reporters like Glen McGregor working in newsrooms across the country, a lot less of that criticism would be deserved.
By Andrew Potter - Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 8:22 AM - 17 Comments
So if it was up to prisoners and soldiers and diplomats, Stephen Harper would…
So if it was up to prisoners and soldiers and diplomats, Stephen Harper would have a massive majority of about 205 seats. That’s according an analysis of special (absentee) ballots from the last election by Glen McGregor. Here’s the part I loved:
For voters in jail, Elections Canada assigns their vote to the riding they lived in before incarceration. If they don’t have one, their vote is assigned to the address of their spouse or or other family member they would be living with. If family cannot be located, Elections Canada counts the ballot in the riding where they were arrested.