What happened in Thunder Bay?


As part of its challenge to the election results in seven ridings, the Council of Canadians has obtained (and now released) an affidavit from Annette Desgagne, a call centre worker with Responsive Marketing Group in Thunder Bay.

About 3 days before election day, the script changed in a manner that was noticeable to me. When a new script was being implemented, we would have to specifically log off and log back into the system. This time, the scripts we were to read to the listeners concerned changes to the locations of their polling stations. The new scripts we were to read did not identify that we were calling on behalf of the Conservative Party nor did we mention the local Conservative candidate…

I started to become concerned about the Change of Address Calls, because several listeners with whom I spoke, questioned me about the new polling location I was providing. For example, I recall one woman in Winnipeg telling me that the address I just gave her was over an hour away. I tried to problem solve this over the phone with her for a few minutes, but she was sure the new address was wrong. There was a phone number at the bottom of the screen in front of me that I was to give people if they had further questions. That lady said she had called that number but that it was not a correct number.

Elections Canada specifically asked all political parties to refrain from calling voters about changes to polling station locations. But Ms. Desgagne says she recalls calling voters in Nipissing-Timiskaming, where apparently no changes were made.

RMG says callers were scripted to identify themselves as calling from the party and that the calls weren’t specifically about changes to polling station locations.

RMG issued its own statement, saying it called only Conservative supporters in the days leading up to the vote and that the scripts used by call workers clearly indicated they were calling on behalf of the party. “(It) would make no sense for RMG to give identified Conservative supporters incorrect voting information,” the company said…

RMG claims that its callers did not make change-of-location calls, but, rather, made get-out-the-vote (GOTV) calls that included polling address confirmations. “The scripts indicated that Elections Canada had changed ‘some’ polling locations — not that ‘their’ (that individual’s) location had changed,” the company said.

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