The Week in Sum: Conservatives had Monopoly on Racknine Services, Fed False Data to Press on Robocalls
Well, well. The plot thickens. I suppose I’ll start by asking why the new story has been leaked on a Friday afternoon, as the NDP convention gets underway. From what little I can gain from a few cryptic anonymous sources, most of the details were known earlier this week — if not over the weekend. So why sit on them until now?
Anyways, down to business. First, the officially non-partisan robocall service Racknine had an exclusivity contract with the Conservative Party during the 2011 election. Racknine’s services were used to send out the bogus phone calls. Ergo, the mysterious “Pierre Poutine” was able to persuade Racknine that he was actually an authorized Conservative Party operative. That still doesn’t prove fraud on the part of Racknine, I want to emphasize — again, they’re just the service provider, and Sixth Estate does not shoot messengers. But it is evidence that whoever they were talking to convinced Racknine that it was a genuine Conservative message.
Second, we know that “Pierre Poutine” also uploaded a seemingly pro-Liberal message onto the Racknine server, but never had it sent out. Why? The media thinks it must have been another harassment call. Of course, some Conservatives will seize on this as evidence that Pierre Poutine was actually a Liberal agent, not a Tory one. And I’m sure that’s precisely why the two messages were uploaded together. It’s a false flag intended to throw pursuers off the scent and send them on a wild goose chase for Liberal covert agents. If you were intelligent enough to use a fake cellphone and a mysterious Paypal address, why would you make the inexcusable mistake of uploading your own party’s legitimate campaign ad alongside your fraud call?
Update: The answer, according to the Grope & Flail, is even better than I thought: the Liberal message in question was initially keyed in to go out over night and wake up people. Which would mean that Pierre Poutine is one of several operatives responsible for sending late-night harassment calls in numerous ridings in southern Ontario. Further proof of an organized plot.
Third, and most importantly, the records reveal that Racknine made a total of 7676 calls to a total of 6738 telephone numbers. Not 5198, the way John Ivison claimed last week on the basis of his anonymous Conservative sounces. Now, it is almost inconceivable that the Conservatives could accidentally think their supposed list of 5198 target phone numbers was somehow equivalent to the actual list of 6738 numbers. Last week there was a list of 5198 phone numbers. This week there’s a list of 6738 phone numbers.
Obviously at least one of these descriptions is fake. The most logical explanation is that John Ivison’s sources in the Conservative Party were feeding him false information, which he then used to print a morally abysmal whitewashing of the entire affair. (And we should therefore expect him, as a professional and ethical reporter, to either print an apology and take responsibility himself, or name the sources that obviously tried to lie to us by using him as their tool.) This is the most implausible explanation.
And yet… The flip side is that it hardly makes sense for the Conservatives to leak bogus numbers when they already knew the real ones were in the hands of Elections Canada. It was sure to get out eventually — and even if it didn’t, it was sure to make the investigators exceptionally suspicious. The second possibility is that Racknine gave Elections Canada a bogus list, and I’m not buying that for a second. Even in the unlikely event their “non-partisan neutrality” schtick is a facade, they still wouldn’t be stupid enough to give false evidence to an investigation. That’s a fast way to earn yourself an unnecessary prison term.
There is one intriguing third possibility. If more than one robocall was used in the Guelph region, then it’s conceivable that Elections Canada is chasing down one lead from Racknine, while the Conservatives accidentally leaked the other list to Ivison. Does this sound unlikely? Perhaps. But it’s the easiest way to reconcile all the numbers without concluding that an element within the Conservative Party was authorized by the Prime Minister’s Office to “leak” fraudulent telephone records to the press with the intention of interfering with an ongoing investigation.
Either way, the fact that the Conservatives leaked the phone records to Ivison means we’re still left with the ironclad logic that the Conservatives know who Pierre Poutine is. And they’re not telling us. There can only be one reason why they wouldn’t.Tweet