Conservative scripts misdirected voters in 2011 Canadian election, say call centre staff

February 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Americas

OTTAWA—Callers on behalf of the federal Conservative Party were instructed in the days before last year’s election to read scripts telling voters that Elections Canada had changed their voting locations, say telephone operators who worked for a Thunder Bay-based call centre.

These weren’t “robo-calls,” as automated pre-recorded voice messages as commonly known. They were live real-time calls made into ridings across Canada, the callers say.

In a new twist on new growing allegations of political “dirty tricks,” three former employees of RMG — Responsive Marketing Group Inc.’s call centre in Thunder Bay — told the Star about the scripts.

A fourth remembered directing people to voting stations but did not remember passing on any message that a voting station had changed.

However, one employee was so concerned that something was amiss she says she reported it to her supervisor at the RMG site, to the RCMP office in Thunder Bay and to a toll-free Elections Canada number at the time.

Annette Desgagné, 46, said it became clear to her — after so many people complained that the “new” voting locations made no sense or were “way the hell across town” — that the live operators were, in fact, misdirecting voters.

“We’re sending people to the wrong place,” Desgagné recalled telling her supervisor.

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