News, Politics

Sentence Handed Down In “Pierre Poutine” case

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An angry citizen shares her displeasure at the Parliament buildings following the robocall scandal in 2011. Image: Wikipedia
An angry citizen shares her displeasure at the Parliament buildings following the robocall scandal in 2011. Image: Wikipedia

The judge has made a decision about the “Pierre Poutine” case.

The Pierre Poutine case
Back in 2011, during a Canadian federal election, some people living in Guelph, Ontario received messages on their phones urging them to vote. However, the message gave them the wrong directions to the polling station (the location where you vote).

Those messages may have caused people to go to the wrong polling station. By the time they found the right one, where they could vote, the polls may have closed or they may have given up and decided to go home instead and not bother to vote.

That would have been a good thing for a party that knew that most of the people in a certain area were intending to vote against it. If they could prevent people from voting at all, they would be more successful in the election.

That’s why calls like that deliberately mislead people during an election are illegal.

More than 6,000 people received misleading messages.

There was an investigation into the messages and the calls were traced to a cell phone belonging to “Pierre Poutine.” That was a false name used to hide the real cell phone owner.

It turns out, one of the people responsible for the messages was Michael Sona, who worked for the Conservative political party.

After a trial that has gone on for months, Sona has been found guilty of elections fraud. A judge sentenced him to nine months in jail. The judge said it was Sona’s first offence; he also noted that Sona was likely not working alone, although no one else has been charged in the case.

A CTV news story lists a timeline of the events in the “Pierre Poutine” scandal here.

In that timeline, they point out that in February, 2012, both Sona and Prime Minister Stephen Harper denied having anything to do with the calls. Harper accused the NDP and Liberals of trying to make the Conservatives look bad, CTV’s news report says.

The point of the Guelph calls had been to help get Conservative Marty Burke elected–however, the scheme didn’t work and a Liberal candidate won in that area.

Related links
For more background information about this case, read these TKN articles:

Two Canadian Political Parties In Hot Water Over Use Of Technology

Protests and Accusations – The “Robo-Call” Scandal Continues

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The judge ruled that Michael Sona will spend 9 months in prison for his role in this scandal. Do you agree with this punishment? Why or why not? Use evidence from the text to support your view.

Reading Prompt: Elements of Style
Today’s article is about a very serious crime that was committed during an election. However, the overall tone of the article is “light.” For example, the following sentence shares the judge’s important verdict but begins in a conversational tone.

It turns out, one of the people responsible for the messages was Michael Sona, who worked for the Conservative political party.

Underline examples of the “light” tone used throughout the article.

What affect is created by combining this tone with this subject?

Intermediate
Identify various elements of style – including foreshadowing, metaphor, and symbolism – and explain how they help communicate meaning and enhance the effectiveness of texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Language Feature: Alliteration
The made-up name, “Pierre Poutine” is an example of alliteration. Alliteration is a literary device where the sounds in consecutive words are repeated. This device is very common in nursery rhymes and tongue twisters. For example,

Betty Botter bought some butter, but, she said, the butter’s bitter; if I put it in my batter it will make my batter bitter, but a bit of better butter will make my batter better.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?

Write a nursery rhyme or tongue twister of your own using alliteration.