Campaign Research fires back at Martin

Campaign Research is firing back at Pat Martin for comments the NDP Winnipeg MP made on CTV’s Question Period yesterday.

Campaign Research writes to Martin,

“we ask that you immediately provide a writtenstatement to be published on your MP website and provided to media, correcting the record,apologizing for your mistake and retracting your false implication which was made in the absence of anyevidence whatsoever. Please note that if we receive no response from you, and/or no written statement is made public by 5pm EST on February 28, 2012, we will be proceeding with the filing of a Statement of Claim”

Comments

comments

  • http://drdawgsblawg.ca Dr. Dawg

    The Oscar Wilde defence. Didn’t end well for OW, and it won’t end well for Campaign Research. Bring on examination for discovery! This is worth making popcorn for.

  • Liz J

     I would like to know how come Martin, Angus, Rae and all the other howlers in the HOC and out know so much about the “robocalls” that they can definitively accuse the Conservatives of “the worst electoral scandal in Canadian history”?

    The display in the HOC by the Opposition in the HOC today is way beyond civil and mature, they are a disgrace.

  • Michael Harkov

    They and their lawyers would know that there would be an examination for discovery, so why would Campaign Research be particulary worried knowing what there is to be discovered? Nice try, though. Bring on the popcorn indeed. :D

    Pat Martin stuck it out too far, and now it is about to be chopped off. Can’t wait for the show! :D

  • Anonymous

    National Post: Conservatives admit they’re behind false byelection phone calls in Liberal riding


    By Lee Berthiaume

    OTTAWA — The Conservatives have confirmed they are behind a rash of
    phone calls to Liberal MP Irwin Cotler’s Montreal-riding over the past
    couple of weeks in which constituents allegedly were told of Cotler’s
    resignation and a pending byelection.

    But while the party says it was not breaking any rules, political
    analysts say the tactic crosses a line and will harm not only voters’
    trust in the system, but perhaps even the Conservatives themselves.

    Numerous constituents in Cotler’s Mount Royal riding have complained of
    receiving calls in recent weeks from a marketing research company
    insinuating he has resigned and asking them to support the Conservatives
    in an upcoming byelection.

    National Post:
    At least 14 election ridings blitzed with live calls from fake Liberals


    By Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor

    An analysis of reports of mysterious harassing phone calls during the
    May 2011 election points to the existence of a systematic voter
    suppression campaign targeting Liberal voters in tightly contested
    ridings.

    Unlike the pre-recorded “robocalls” now under investigation by
    Elections Canada, these calls came from live callers, likely working
    from a call centre.

    The Conservatives used several calling companies during the campaign to
    make legitimate voter identification calls using live operators.
    Responsive Marketing Group worked on 92 Conservative campaigns across
    the country, while Campaign Research was hired by 39, mostly in Ontario.

    National Post:
    Andrew Coyne: All too plausible to think the Conservatives are involved in the robocall scandal


    So, no, we do not know for a fact that the calls came from anyone acting
    on the authority of the Conservative party. But, well, let’s say it
    fits a pattern — if not of outright lawbreaking then certainly of
    close-to-the-wind tactics and ends-justify-the-means ethics. The “in and
    out” affair may not have been the scandal many, including Elections
    Canada, thought it was, but it hardly spoke of a robust commitment to
    honesty and fair play. The deceptive calls to voters in Irwin Cotler’s
    riding of Mount Royal are a still closer precedent. It is not
    implausible that somebody connected with the party would have taken
    their cues as to what was considered appropriate behaviour, and run with
    it.

    It is hard to overstate how serious this is. It doesn’t matter whether
    the calls had their intended effect. It is sufficient that someone made
    them. If it were just the circumstances, or just their track record, the
    Conservatives might be given the benefit of the doubt. But the two
    together, while they do not prove anyone in the party was involved, make
    it all too plausible to believe they were. Indeed, it would be more
    surprising to find they weren’t.

    Ethical standards are fragile enough in politics. Too many partisans
    view it as war by other means, exaggerating the stakes in order to
    justify their behaviour to themselves. In the case of the federal
    Conservatives, that predisposition to expediency is overlaid with a
    swaggering, bullying style, yet one that betrays a deep insecurity: the
    insecurity of a party that, for good reasons and bad, believes the
    system — the media, the bureaucracy, the judiciary — is stacked against
    it, and that it is therefore obliged, if not entitled, to take a few
    shortcuts to even the odds.

    It is a party that believes it has had to fight twice as hard to get
    where it is, a belief that has only hardened through each of the many
    compromises it has made on the way. The progression is sadly familiar.
    Having first compromised its beliefs, a party finds it is easier to
    compromise its principles; having compromised its principles, it learns
    to compromise its ethics; and compromises of ethics, as we have seen in
    other parties, lead sooner or later to compromises with the law.

  • Thymara

    This Andrew Coyne line says it all

    So, no, we do not know for a fact that the calls came from anyone actingon the authority of the Conservative party.

  • Anonymous

    Coyne’s point is that we just about do know.

    So…will the CPC take this head-on,  cop to what they have and have not done,  show clearly that they’ve taken steps to actually clean their own house, or will they simply follow their usual policy of stony, defiant silence, letting proxies like the Tory blogosphere fill the void with self-pitying, partisan posturing?

  • guffman

    How about we see some real proof before convicting anyone? Last I heard, Andrew Coyne’s suspicions are not grounds to prove anything.

  • tac

    Didn’t I see a report, not that long ago, that the NDP and Liberals have used this very same tactic and even recently??

  • tac

    Didn’t I see a report, not that long ago, that the NDP and Liberals have used this very same tactic and even recently??

  • Gabby in QC

    Re: the Lee Berthiaume article cited by Kenn2 

    The headline and content of Berthiaume’s account is inaccurate. Berthiaume wrote:
    “OTTAWA — The Conservatives have confirmed they are behind a rash of 
    phone calls to Liberal MP Irwin Cotler’s Montreal-riding over the past 
    couple of weeks in which constituents allegedly were told of Cotler’s 
    resignation and a pending byelection.

    Numerous constituents in Cotler’s Mount Royal riding have complained of 
    receiving calls in recent weeks from a marketing research company 
    insinuating he has resigned and asking them to support the Conservatives
    in an upcoming byelection. …”
    [my highlighting]

    My response to inaccuracies like Berthiaume’s is contained in a lengthy comment I posted over at David Akin’s blog last Dec. 17, after the latter posted the audio of the call some of Cotler’s constituents received. Here it is, revised somewhat. http://blogs.canoe.ca/davidakin/politics/daily-brief-video-conservative-mp-john-williamson-defends-the-reprehensible-cotler-calls/comment-page-1/“Now … when I first heard about this story, my reaction was ugh! Why is my party engaging in such dirty tricks? I jumped to that conclusion because I’d read / heard that people in the Mount Royal riding had received calls actually telling them Mr. Cotler WAS retiring and that there WAS an imminent by-election.However, in the real call (from the video Mr. Akin posted) I notice the caller says: “Some people are suggesting that the current MP may retire … if you would consider supporting the Conservative party if there’s a by-election.”
• Mr. Cotler’s name is NOT mentioned, so he is not being personally targeted. Given some people’s lack of interest in politics, they may not even know who their MP is.
• “the current MP MAY retire” is not the same as “the current MP IS retiring.”
• “IF you would consider supporting” and “IF there’s a by-election” are hypotheticals, not statements of fact.
The caller did not say there was actually going to be a by-election. So, sorry to say, the reports about the calls were inaccurate. If there have been untruths, it is the way in which some media have portrayed the calls. …Finally, Andrew Cohen in a column entitled “The smearing of Irwin Cotler”
wrote:
“It is true that Cotler has had doubts about remaining in Parliament, which isn’t unusual for a politician of his age, experience and interests, who now finds himself a backbencher. Even before the Liberals became the third party, Michael Ignatieff had to persuade him to run again this year.”

SO, the rumour that Mr. Cotler was considering leaving politics did not necessarily originate with the Conservatives. …” 

    Like the Montreal Gazette slogan goes “Words are important.” Journalists should make an effort to be scrupulously accurate so that they don’t mislead their audience.

  • Gabby in QC

    Re: the Lee Berthiaume article cited by Kenn2 

    The headline and content of Berthiaume’s account is inaccurate. Berthiaume wrote:
    “OTTAWA — The Conservatives have confirmed they are behind a rash of 
    phone calls to Liberal MP Irwin Cotler’s Montreal-riding over the past 
    couple of weeks in which constituents allegedly were told of Cotler’s 
    resignation and a pending byelection.

    Numerous constituents in Cotler’s Mount Royal riding have complained of 
    receiving calls in recent weeks from a marketing research company 
    insinuating he has resigned and asking them to support the Conservatives
    in an upcoming byelection. …”
    [my highlighting]

    My response to inaccuracies like Berthiaume’s is contained in a lengthy comment I posted over at David Akin’s blog last Dec. 17, after the latter posted the audio of the call some of Cotler’s constituents received. Here it is, revised somewhat. http://blogs.canoe.ca/davidakin/politics/daily-brief-video-conservative-mp-john-williamson-defends-the-reprehensible-cotler-calls/comment-page-1/“Now … when I first heard about this story, my reaction was ugh! Why is my party engaging in such dirty tricks? I jumped to that conclusion because I’d read / heard that people in the Mount Royal riding had received calls actually telling them Mr. Cotler WAS retiring and that there WAS an imminent by-election.However, in the real call (from the video Mr. Akin posted) I notice the caller says: “Some people are suggesting that the current MP may retire … if you would consider supporting the Conservative party if there’s a by-election.”
• Mr. Cotler’s name is NOT mentioned, so he is not being personally targeted. Given some people’s lack of interest in politics, they may not even know who their MP is.
• “the current MP MAY retire” is not the same as “the current MP IS retiring.”
• “IF you would consider supporting” and “IF there’s a by-election” are hypotheticals, not statements of fact.
The caller did not say there was actually going to be a by-election. So, sorry to say, the reports about the calls were inaccurate. If there have been untruths, it is the way in which some media have portrayed the calls. …Finally, Andrew Cohen in a column entitled “The smearing of Irwin Cotler”
wrote:
“It is true that Cotler has had doubts about remaining in Parliament, which isn’t unusual for a politician of his age, experience and interests, who now finds himself a backbencher. Even before the Liberals became the third party, Michael Ignatieff had to persuade him to run again this year.”

SO, the rumour that Mr. Cotler was considering leaving politics did not necessarily originate with the Conservatives. …” 

    Like the Montreal Gazette slogan goes “Words are important.” Journalists should make an effort to be scrupulously accurate so that they don’t mislead their audience.

  • Gabby in QC

    The format here is once again screwed up.

  • Gabby in QC

    The format here is once again screwed up.

  • Anonymous

     Oh, there’s more wrong here than the blog format.

  • Anonymous

     … and that would make it OK, huh?

    I don’t care who did it, it’s cynical, underhanded and wrong. The CPC has taken campaigning, and accountability, to new lows.

  • Anonymous

     Help me out kenn2. How does one recognize when they “just about” know something?

  • Liz J

     You betcha!

    Have you heard about “Vickileaks”? Bob Rae has.

  • Liz J

    So you know for fact the Conservatives are guilty? Maybe you should share this with the RCMP and EC.

    One of the rags led some to believe the NDP were behind Vikileaks, turns out they were wrong. John Baird believed them too, he had to make an apology to the NDP.

    I’d be careful, crow isn’t too tasty no matter how it is served, Bob Rae wasn’t licking his lips. Of course he wasn’t humbled either, he was too busy sopping up the praise for making an apology, like he had a choice.

  • Liz J

    Yeah, words are important, so is honesty.

    In the Cotler gotcha attempt honesty would not have netted them the ammunition required to smear the Conservative party.

  • Anonymous

     Coyne’s point is that we just about do know.  If you disagree, take it up with him.

    socialists-layer … is this to do with preferred partners?

  • Anonymous

     Notice how Rae immediately stepped up and apologised when the ‘Vikileaks’  issue was shown to have been a Liberal staffer. CPC have axed a staffer, but not a peep re what said sacrificial lamb actually did, let alone an apology.

    Everyone here knows that the CPC have gone right to the edge of legal
    and ethical boundaries in their campaigning; it’s no big stretch to
    expect they occasionally crossed them.

    Neither you nor I know the full story. The CPC could clear the air in an instant, but they won’t. Their silence is more damaging than the truth… unless they really do have alot to be ashamed of.

  • Anonymous

    Push-pulling has never been ‘legitimate’ or ethical. Unfortunately the CPC is helping make it normal.

    Anyone calling Coyne a Liberal is really … under-informed.

  • Anonymous

     Preferred partners…WTF?
    I’ll make my question easier for you,either you know something or you don’t. How do you “just about” know?
    “socialist-layer” lol, wow, what a zinger!

  • Anonymous

     Back at you – what do you know?

  • Rich

    Rae immediately stepped up and apologized, think again; he did not apologize until the speaker of the house came back to the house and identified the liberal staffer who had created the vickileaks30 on a government computer. Secondly this staffer is on government payroll and using government money to provide this tripe.

  • Anonymous

     I know that you can’t answer a simple question.

  • Anonymous

     Wrong. I won’t answer a pointless question.

    I’ll type this slowly: Did you read Coyne’s article? He’s better connected and a better journalist than you or I. I was merely paraphrasing his conclusion, which happen to agree with. If you’re not swayed by Coyne’s article, I doubt I could do any better. Sorry.

  • Anonymous

     Rae claims, (and is widely believed) that he didn’t know about the staffer’s involvement til the investigation uncovered that, at which time he made the apology.

    Similarly, the push-polling and fraudulent robocalls have been linked to CPC suppliers, who have already copped to the Cotler calls on behalf of the CPC. A CPC staffer has been canned and we don’t know why. Do you seriously doubt that eventually, all the dots are going to be connected, and at least some of this sh!t is going to stick to the CPC?

    Harper could get out in front of this if he was so inclined. Apparently not. Why?

  • wheat

    I live in Guelph.  While I didn’t get a robocall (I don’t have a land-line), there were people showing up at the downtown mall on election day to vote because they were told, by a recorded message, their polling station had changed location.  The local Liberal candidate’s office found out about this and went to the mall with voter lists to help direct people to the correct location.  However, many didn’t have the time to spend another hour and a half to wait for a bus, get to near their location, wait in line to vote, and then get back to work/pick up their kids/get to the polling station.

    *Somebody* did this – and it’s a criminal offense. Not a “howler”, in my book at least, to be upset about election fraud.

    The call-centre that the calls were coming from (Guelph is the first place where this has been absolutely confirmed) has been hired by the Conservatives multiple times in the past, as well as during the election campaign in question.

    Please, take off the blinders – there may be plenty to admire in conservatism, but where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

  • wheat
  • wheat

    I took this away from the article:

    Indeed, it would be more surprising to find they (the Conservatives) weren’t (involved).(my brackets added – but fair in context)

  • Anonymous

    I hope the Conservatives are not ultimately behind this, as I could not in good conscience support this sort of action.

    I’m pleased to see these actions initiated, since Martin should be held accountable for unsubstantiated mud-slinging.

    However, re some of the other comments here–what happened in Irwin Cotler’s riding is not fully legit, and it is actions like that, borderline actions, that make the CPC look bad.  I think it is beneath the dignity of the party to muck about like that, and I think that if we’re right, we don’t need to take the low road.

  • Liz J

    Those on the low road are the most boisterous in this latest attempt at gotcha, the only game in town for  the opposition and media it seems.

    It’s starting to look very bad for those who have been mouthing off the accusations.
    The only recourse is litigation, we need to see a lot of it to prevent it from happening again.

    Minister Toews deserves more than an apology, he needs to litigate. While Rae made his red faced apology it has been diminished by his  bragging about the apology, as if there was any choice for a person who aspires to lead the Liberal, even in rump status.

    No matter who engages in it there are no rewards for those playing dirty politics, only litigation and defeat.

  • Gabby in QC

    While I completely agree with you that the CPC should not take the low road, I don’t share your view that “what happened in Irwin Cotler’s riding is not fully legit.”

    What is NOT fully legit is the misrepresentation of the actual calls, with Mr. Cotler, his supporters, and media reports misrepresenting what was actually said. Unless there were calls different from the one David Akin put up at his blog, the calls made to Mount Royal constituents did NOT say Mr. Cotler was actually retiring or had retired, as journalists have reported and Mr. Cotler characterized the incident. The caller said he MIGHT retire, which indicates possibility, not actuality. A fine legal mind like Mr. Cotler’s should recognize that nuance exists. The possibility of his resignation had been circulated by some journalists, one of whom I cited above. The Conservatives did not initiate the rumour.

    As a matter of fact, similar speculation, i.e. about the resignation of a well-known MP, was circulated by journalists about Peter Mackay, stating his departure to a prominent law firm was imminent. In Nov. 2010,. Jane Taber, Chantal Hebert, and John Ibbitson all wrote columns about that “imminent” departure. Unlike Mr. Cotler, Minister Mackay did not make a fuss about how those rumours had impeded his ministerial and MP duties. There were rumours in the press about other Conservative MPs, none of which were brought up as a question of privilege in the House. Also, remember that the calls in question were made AFTER the election, NOT during it.

  • Liz J

    It’s been my observation Cotler seems to be  quite happy when he has an opportunity to get fussed up about something that will garner media attention, which isn’t difficult, he’s an elder Liberal and they love him.

  • Anonymous

    Weasel words like  ‘might retire’  in no way diminish the fact that the call was intended to mislead… to plant or reinforce the idea that Cotler was actively planning to retire.

    Whether the CPC crossed a line with the Cotler call or not, to paraphrase Coyne;

    … it fits a pattern — if not of outright lawbreaking then certainly of
    close-to-the-wind tactics and ends-justify-the-means ethics. ..  it hardly [speaks] of a robust commitment to  honesty and fair play.

    Same with these other revelations.

  • Gabby in QC

    I suppose words like “dictator” “Stalinesque” and “saboteur” regularly used by the commentariat to refer to the duly elected Prime Minister of Canada have that macho je ne sais quoi that you prefer.

    Thanks, I prefer my “weasel words” to your belligerent ones or Coyne’s pontificating, for that matter.

  • Anonymous

     I suppose words like “dictator” “Stalinesque” and “saboteur” regularly
    used by the commentariat to refer to the duly elected Prime Minister of
    Canada have that macho je ne sais quoi that you prefer.

    Thanks for the irrelevant, hyperbolic and fabricated arguments. 

  • Gabby in QC

    “Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of the truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.”
    Edgar Allan Poe

  • DougM

     Well, if there is fire where there is smoke, you dn’t mind if we jail the entire Liberal caucus do you?   After all ADSCAM, Grand Mere affair, Shawinigate, etc. etc. etc.

  • DougM

    Don’t think so – the Liberals went after Stockwell Day with a ferocity that makes the Taliban look mealy mouthed.  Their mistake was to think that the Conservatives would never use the same tactics against them.  They tried agains with the “Hidden Agenda”.   Harper watched and learned – now the Liberals don’t like it.   Tough.

               I agree that its not very pretty,  (cynical underhanded and wrong) but they changed/made the rules.  Does it make it OK?  Well, if you’re going to get falsely accused and hammered in an election.  Then yeah, it does.   Harper doesn’t do the screaming and yelling that Rae or Turmoil does.   The NDP claim to want a “more civil” HoC, bull.  What they wanted was to be able to go on the warpath without critique.     Apparently that didn’t get transmitted to Martin, but even so, to pick on him alone is wrong.  Martin is a half-wit.  He is a former construction worker who was clearly overemployed holding up a shovel and is out of his league in the House but lacks the competence to know it when the camera is turned on and know enough to keep his yap shut.  He’s therefore made his own bed.    Yes there usually is an element of theatre to QP, but that theatre is not only allowed to the opposition.   If the gradual but persistant increase in Consevative votes/support is any indication, their hyperbole is not doing them any favours.  It is, after all, supposed to be Her Majesty’s “Loyal” Opposition, not just opposition for the hell of it.

  • DougM

     Rae claims, (and is widely believed) that he didn’t know about the
    staffer’s involvement til the investigation uncovered that, at which
    time he made the apology.

    And I imagine that if it is found that a CPC staffer did the dirty work, Harper will also do the same – but there is no reason he should be doing it until someone – the Speaker, the Party or the Press (or Elections Canada or the RCMP) find the culprit

  • Anonymous

    …it’s plausible that the CPC can claim a brief respite while Elections Canada and the Mounties proceed with the investigation.

    But by now it’s well-known that the CPC will sandbag against any accusations for as long as possible. So I’m thinking that EC must have had a fairly solid case before they were willing to go public.

    Only they know. In the meantime, while the CPC stays silent, the media are happy to weigh in. Both nature and journalism abhor a vacuum.

  • Anonymous

     … so you have reasonable evidence that the Liberals (may they rest in peace) engaged in the same phone shenanigans, to the same extent? If you don’t, then you can hardly assert that this is merely payback. No, the CPC have definitely ploughed some new ground.

  • Anonymous

     … so you have reasonable evidence that the Liberals (may they rest in peace) engaged in the same phone shenanigans, to the same extent? If you don’t, then you can hardly assert that this is merely payback. No, the CPC have definitely ploughed some new ground.

  • DougM

     I don’t just have reasonable evidence – I was there – so was the rest of the country – where the hell were you?   The CPC is giving back precisely what they got – in fact its muted – can you imagine what would happen if Harper gave a “Salmon Arm Salute” to the Liberals?  Could you consider the CPC coming up with a slogan like Liberal Senator Keith Davies “Screw the West, we’ll take the rest”??   The Liberals are reaping the seeds they have sown.  They won’t die, but it will take some time to re-build their party and their brand – but they ain’t doing a very good job of it.  They also suffer under Rae – he isn’t the disaster Dion or Iggy was, but he is unelectable in Ontario.  They should be getting a new guy in the saddle and getting him/her in the public eye.

  • Anonymous

    So you’re saying the Liberals robocalled you and told you to go to nonexistent polls, or pretended to be Conservatives and tried to annoy you, or tried to start rumours of your MP retiring? Amazing… I never knew this. That changes everything.

    Send me those links ASAP!

  • Cameron

    Doug: this is going to be tough for you to understand, but this isn’t actually a partisan thing (beyond the fact that it seems to have been done by the CPC) unless you think “I like democratic and free elections” is a partisan view.

    Honestly I don’t care who goes to jail, as long as they are guilty.

    Pull your head out.

  • DougM

     Its “plausible”?   Really?  No lynch mob?   Newsflash, sandbagging wasn’t invented by the CPC.   See “Somalia Inquiry” although that was a tad different – if Cretin hadn’t shut down parliament, he may have wound up being pilloried – I mean before Gomery.  

    But you are right – in the absence of facts – the media will continue in the motto of Fleet Street – “Make it first, make it fast and make it up”  The good news is that it has been going on for so long, it appears people are seeing through it.  Bad for the media who have become an entertainment sideshow, but good for the country as a whole.

  • DougM

    Alas Cameron, you miss the point that you yourself try to make  –  when you say  “as long as they are guilty” you are qualifying your statement.  Since you clearly have information that EC and the RCMP do not,  please, pray tell, who is guilty?

    So you tell us “this isn’t actually a partisan thing” on one hand but want someone (from the CPC) one presumes in jail.

    And you have the unmitigated temerity to suggest others might find something “tough to understand”?  

    “Tis far better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.”
                                                                                            Confucious