The Fair Elections Act mandated the first ever Voter Contact Registry.
Phone-bank companies, candidates, political parties and third party groups hiring an outside company to make live and robo calls had 48 hours from the start of their use in a campaign to register with the CRTC. Parties and candidates making their own in house calls were not required to register. The DoNotCall list does not apply to political calls.
This same Fair Elections Act prevented release of the list til a month after the election. This meant voters were unable to check it to see if the calls they were receiving were legitimately registered with the CRTC - not that it would have mattered in the case of Pierre Poutine in the last election as he hid his use anyway.
The CRTC list
was published a week ago: "A total of 1460 registrations have been filed to the CRTC for the 42nd General Election, including 554 from calling service providers and 906 from other persons or groups."So taking a quick look ... CRTC lists each candidate and the phone services they used so I added the names up and crossed off duplicate use of a company by the same candidate. Many individual candidates listed several companies used more than once.
At first glance, the list appears to be one long list of Con MP names :
118 Con candidates used Responsive Marketing Group (RMG
), for live calls92 Cons used ElectRight
for live/robo calls or both, Bergen, Clement, Raitt, Nicholson, and Scheer among them.38 Cons used Nik Kouvalis' Campaign Research/Campaign Support
for live/robocalls or both, including Harper, Poilievre, Oliver, Alexander, Rempel, Leitch, O'Toole, Lukiwski But First Contact
, which told CBC
that in the 2011 election it "provided services to more than 80 Liberal candidates", is listed on CRTC's 2015 Voter Contact Registry simply as
"First Contact (Ontario 1999) - Liberal candidates"No names or numbers so we don't know how many Liberals signed up with them for how many calling contracts this time.
Likewise NGP VAN
, a Washington DC company used by Obama in 2012
, is just listed as having done robocalls for "Liberal Party of Canada candidates" and live calls for "Liberal Party of Canada", so again ... no idea how many Libs used NGP VAN (Voter Action Network).
I wonder on what grounds the CRTC allowed NGP VAN and First Contact off the hook about their specific use in a list that is supposed to be about public disclosure.
Glen McGregor writes : Compared to their rivals, Tories used a whack more telephone contact firms during the election
but I don't think we can know that if the candidates and numbers for two big firms are missing.
127 Liberals used Prime Contact Inc
Only 4 Cons used RackNine
this time round, Jason Kenney being most notable.5 NDP candidates used Strategic Communications
. This appears to comprise the entire extent of reported NDP phone campaigning for individual candidates. There were another 4 for the NDP Party at large. The bulk of Strategic Comm users were third party groups like unions, Greenpeace, and Council of Canadians.And lastly,
a brief look at Blue Direct,
new to me and
used by Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, and 10 other Cons for both live and robo calls according to the CRTC list.
In his 2014 book, Winning Power: Canadian Campaigning in the Twenty-First Century,
Tom Flanagan writes Blue Direct
is owned by a former student of his, Matt Gelinas, formerly of RMG and the Manning Centre.
Gelinas' partner at Blue Direct is Richard Dur, a Morton Blackwell Leadership Institute
alumnus, seen here being honoured as Leadership Institute graduate of the week
in 2011 :
“LI graduate and Canadian Member of Parliament Rob Anders said it well when he described LI training as ‘taking a drink from a fire hose,’” Richard said..