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The Robo-Call Scandal Continues

Voting Day Signs in Ontario
Voting Day Signs in Ontario, 2011. Image: knehcsg.

The robo-call scandal is not going away. In fact, it’s getting bigger.

During the last federal election, many Canadian voters said they received automatic voice-mail messages (robo-calls) directing them to the wrong polling station.*

CBC News is reporting that they have found voters across Canada who say they got misleading robo-call messages because they were not voting for the Conservative Party.

In other words, according to CBC News, people who weren’t voting Conservative were called and directed to the wrong polling station. (If people can’t find their polling station – the place where they vote – then they may not be able to vote, or they may decide it’s too much of a hassle to find the right polling station.)

This points the finger for the robo-calls at the Conservative Party and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

CBC News reporters talked to 31 people who said they had received misleading calls. They said they “found a pattern.” People who got a misleading robo-call had also been called by the Conservative Party to find out how they were planning to vote.

Here is an example of what CBC News has uncovered:

“Charles Cochrane of Saint John, N.B., made it very clear to the Conservatives that they did not have his vote. Then, on election day, he said, “The phone rang and it was a recorded message. This is Elections Canada calling, your polling station has now changed.” He checked. It had not changed.”

The above paragraph is from a CBC News article by Terry Milewski, here.

The Conservatives strongly deny that they have had any role in the misleading robo-calls. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is quoted by the CBC as saying that the Conservatives “absolutely, definitively” had no role in it.

If robo-calls misled people and caused them to not cast their vote, it could be a big problem. In some ridings, where the voting was close, it could even have changed the results of the election. For instance, in North Bay, the Liberal party lost by just 18 votes.

One MP says Elections Canada, the group that runs Canadian elections, is to blame for the robo-calls. They changed some polling stations, so incorrect information was accidentally passed along and may have been used for the robo-calls.

As more information comes out about the scandal, Canadians are demanding an inquiry to find out exactly how it happened and who is to blame.

*For more information about the robo-call scandal, please see our past articles:
Protests and Accusations – The “Robo-Call” Scandal Continues
Two Canadian Political Parties In Hot Water Over Use Of Technology

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The article states, “Canadians are demanding an inquiry to find out exactly how it happened and who is to blame.” Why is this inquiry important? How could the information that comes out of the inquiry change how elections are run in the future?

Reading Prompt: Demonstrate Understanding
Why do you think this story keeps “getting bigger”? (Use the main ideas in this article and supporting information to answer this question.)

Demonstrate understanding of a variety of texts by summarizing important ideas and citing supporting details (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas and citing a variety of details that support the main idea (OME, Reading: 1.4).

Grammar Feature: Prefix
Prefixes are letters added to the front of a word. These letters change how a word is said and what it means. Some examples of prefixes are: un, mis, de, out, re.

In the sentence, “CBC News reporters talked to 31 people who said they had received misleading calls,” the prefix “mis” is added to “leading” in order to create a new word.

Find all of the words in the article that have prefixes.

Add appropriate prefixes to each of the following words to change their meaning:
1. appear
2. build
3. sleep
4. do
5. perform