As you may have heard by now, a polling company has been phoning around Montreal, claiming that Liberal MP Irwin Cotler is about to resign and asking who they plan to vote for in the upcoming by-election. The first problem is that Cotler hasn’t resigned and there isn’t (as yet) a by-election. Now, Cotler may be stretching the truth when he says he isn’t resigning. Whoever decided to fund this shadowy operation — presumably the Government of Canada’s ruling party — must have thought he was going to, or they wouldn’t have exposed themselves like this.
The press has done us at least some service by reporting that the organization responsible for the calls is Campaign Research. Given that both Campaign Research nor the Conservative Party have refused to comment on the matter, it seems relatively safe to assume that Campaign Research really is doing it, and they were prompted into it by the Conservative Party.
What the press doesn’t seem to have noticed is that Campaign Research is a Conservative outfit. Yes, there’s Nick Kouvalis, the Rob Ford election aide from Toronto. But there’s also Aaron Wudrick, a Conservative campaign manager who was caught a few years ago calling for the creation of Conservative “shell organizations” and “front groups” on university campuses. And Richard Ciano, athe Conservative national vice president up until a couple of years ago; Greg Dunlop of the Guelph Riding Association; and Shahin Behroyan, a BC Liberal youth leader.
It’s hard not to notice that all of the men responsible for this company’s Ontario operations (Behroyan being the isolated outsider over in Vancouver) are Conservative Party insiders.
This is not the first time that we have heard rumours about mysterious phone calls. Last May, I predicted that the most under-studied story coming out of the Conservative victory was the fact that somebody had the resources to run a criminal project in at least a dozen ridings across the country, widely reported in the media, attempting to deceive voters about where they were supposed to vote. The project as reported was so scattershot that it was impossible to guess who was responsible. Allegedly some of the callers were told they were being contacted by a Conservative representative, but there was never any proof. Elections Canada promised to investigate, but we’ve never heard a peep from them about it. That in itself is suspect.
And now, another case, this one clearly linked to a Conservative marketing company, attempting to discredit an Opposition politician. The answer from the party is, of course, “no comment.” You could tattoo that phrase onto Conservative spokespeople’s foreheads and the press conferences could be run a lot more efficiently.Tweet