Robocalls and Elections Canada...
Am I on a different planet? Today, I decided to go down to Parliament Hill to hear for myself the Elections Canada testimony on the so-called Robocall scandal. Marc Mayrand, head of Elections Canada, actually didn't say much, but the spin on the web has been amazing.
What I thought was interesting was the low level of complaints received by Elections Canada before and just after the election. A total of 70 complaints were received. That's it, just 70 complaints.
Of course, when the story hit the papers and the opposition parties started asking for people to come forward, over 40,000 communications were received by Elections Canada. Of those, 800 are now being investigated - the rest are just bogus. These 800 complaints are scattered in 200 ridings. While the average is just 4 per riding (not a lot), I bet that most riding are just 1 or 2 and the bulk in Guelph.
He was also quite clear that he was annoyed at the press coverage and gave a few examples where Elections Canada received a lot of complaints about a particular issue, but where full investigation revealed no substance to the complaints.
He will report in a year.
If you look on the web for the news coverage, you'll find an almost ridiculous emphasis on the 200 ridings - like that indicates that this is a widespread scandal. It isn't. There were 6,400+ calls from Guelph that went to voters with incorrect polling locations - some of those calls went to people outside the riding telling them where to vote in Guelph. This surely indicates incorrect data - and Mr. Mayrand said that typically the Elections Canada database has 14% incorrect data.
The opposition MPs present tried to find something to ask. But, Mayrand refused to answer questions on his investigation and that left people like NDP MP David Christopherson frustrated. He actually asked Mayrand about the procedures to null and void the last election.
One last thing - Mayrand was clear. He stands by his certification of the last election.