Get the word out about the Robocall Scandal!
The current Canadian government: people love it or hate it. But what would they say if they knew the full story of the serious questions about its legitimacy?
In the 2011 National Election, there were complaints of voter fraud in 247 of Canada’s 308 ridings.
Three major polling companies estimate that 690,000 voters got fraudulent calls telling them to vote in the wrong place.That's almost 3% of Canadians!
The government won a majority with just 6,000 votes(!) in 13 ridings. Every one of those ridings are under suspicion of voter fraud.
This is more than just a few silly prank calls: it’s the biggest case of electoral fraud in Canadian history. Ever.
Crazy, right? Never heard about it? The news has been relatively hidden, and facts have been trickling out slowly. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.
What were these robocalls?
Calls claiming to be Elections Canada, telling them to vote at a bogus location.
- Calls that pretended to be from the party the voter supported, repeatedly calling them in the middle of the night or harassing them on religious holidays so they would be angry enough to not vote.
- In the 3 days before the election, Elections Canada had so many complaints from voters who said they were lied to that one employee wrote: The workers in the returning office think these people are running a scam.
- One call-centre employee’s affadavit says that she and others were told to make calls that misled voters, and the voters told her she was lying. She reported it to the RCMP.
Right now, an investigation is ongoing and two different court cases are in process. The first is the case of the six electors, individuals calling their ridings results into question. The judgement just came down at the end of May, but it may be appealed to the Supreme Court, getting even more attention. The second is the trial of Michael Sona, who so far is the only person charged in this massive affair. We not only want to springboard off the media attention from these cases, but amplify it... which means we need to act now.
We are a group of friends that came together around this question: How can we make meaningful impact on the Robocall Scandal?
Our campaign is designed to spread a few simple messages. They are:
1. There is evidence of industrial-scale voter fraud in the 2011 national election.
2. We don’t yet know who committed the crime, but evidence shows it benefitted the Conservatives.
3. The Conservatives may not have won their majority without it, meaning their legitimacy is in question.
Based on our skillset, and the fact that increasing awareness of these issues is definitely the first step, we first decided to create a funny animated short called “How to Win” to lay out the facts, including how so-called Pierre Poutine both tipped us off about the scandal and became a joke that distracted us from the core issues.
We wondered where we could direct people to once we had their attention, what would make a major difference. Then something amazing happened: we were struck with the idea of Reverse Robocalls as a meaningful way to empower the public on this issue.
The only way to approach an issue this big is with style, humor... and a good solid three part plan:
1. The Fraud Atlas of Canada (formally known as the Interactive Election-Fraud Map) - An online layered map of Canada showing every case of fraud and how it affected the election. An animated version of this will be used in the short film.
2. Animated Short - How to Win will tell the story of the 2011 election, and introduce the Reverse Robocall Campaign.
3. The Reverse Robocall Campaign - A plan to empower Canadians to record one 30 second message and “reverse robocall” Elections Canada, the CRTC, and every Member of Parliament who can affect change on this issue. Callers can even choose to share their message online.
We’ve thought pretty carefully about what we want to accomplish here. Initially, our goal was to use the video to “unpack the facts” in plain-but-funny terms, with the infographic map showing every public case of fraud. Through boosting a single “call to your MP” with this technology, it becomes a powerful thing, especially in context of many other calls like it.
In the two years since the election, there has been little talk and even less action. We have empathy for how divided Ottawa can be, but we think the best way to break this political stalemate is if the debate comes out from behind closed doors.
We want each MP to give a public statement and an answer to these questions:
a) Will they support granting Elections Canada the powers they need to get to the bottom of these 21st century election crimes?
b) Will they support legislative action to start a public inquiry on the Robocall Scandal?
c) Will they support election law reform in order to prevent massive fraud like this from happening again?
Basically, are they willing to take real action to get the bottom of the biggest electoral fraud in Canada? Until they say where they stand, we think it’s fair to help Canadians to get answers.
Our final goal is to give political capital to individual politicians who want to do something about this, but can’t do it alone. The legitimacy of the current government is in question, and will be until a full investigation clears it. We believe that if each MP is given the chance vote according to their conscience, a majority will have the courage to help right this wrong.
Overall, The NoRobo Company’s Reverse Robocall Campaign will be funny and informative, while being a modern, legal and effective action for Canadian voters to take. Each MP will only receive one call per voter to their Ottawa office during business hours. This will grab some attention on The Hill while still allowing home ridings to receive constituent calls. Our system will ensure all calls are from Canadians, identify their home riding, and prevent repeat calls.
Your Support (UPDATED: 06/01/13)
As far as we can tell, this is the first time in history a campaign of this sort will exist at this scale. All told, the value of this campaign is around $230,000. That said, this is a passion project; we’re in this to make a difference, not to make money. The NoRobo Co. is registered in Ontario as a non-profit.
Initially, our crowdfunding goal is $48,000 to cover hard costs, keeping our fundraising flexible because we can do a scaled-down version of the campaign after raising as little as $30,000. In our projected budget, the funds will be used for the Fraud Atlas (20%), the Animated Short (35%) and unavoidable expenses such as long distance costs for the Reverse Robocall Campaign (20%) and a pro-quality website to contain the user generated content (25%).
As of June 1, our plans have evolved. We are putting all funds raised into the Fraud Atlas, in order to get V1 out next week. We need to raise approximately $10,000 to complete it - with your support thus far, programming, design, and a small army of researchers and data entry people have been employed. Together, we have created the definitive source for this info on the whole internet! Once this powerful asset is out, we will shift our focus to produce "How to Win" and the Reverse Robocall Campaign later this year.
For the Reverse Robocall Campaign, Direct Leap is pitching in it’s services well below cost, and the individual project team members are donating as much time and professional resources as possible. Basically, for every $1 dollar you pledge we will match it with $3 worth of hard costs or free labour.
We can't do it without you. Help us Harness the Power of the Robocall!
Who We Are - The NoRobo Co.
After coming up with this campaign in each other’s living rooms, we decided to start The NoRobo Co. as a non-profit organization to educate Canadians about the 2011 Robocall Scandal. As a team, we represent a variety of political beliefs, with one common thread: a sense that Democratic values matter more than party lines.
Chriz Miller, Media Strategist & Campaign Manager
Super power: Having grand visions and bringing people together.
Career highlights: Reporting from Capitol Hill, writing for PostMedia’s Calgary Herald, working for CTV’s Report on Business Television, reporting for CBC Radio and freelancing for CBC National News. Creating communication and online strategies for non-profits and corporations.
My passion for the project: Democracy is sacred, and it’s as good as we make it. Glad to be one part of making it better.
Simon Rowland, CEO of Direct Leap Technologies
Super power: Designing telecom technology, including robocalls campaigns. Sifting through masses of technical data and bringing out the truth!
Career highlights: Running for the NDP in the year 2000 at the ripe old age of 19. Went from wanting to be an astronaut to being the part owner of a test satellite currently orbiting the earth at Mach 22. Building a voter contact company from the code up, and being the co-founder of a renewable energy fund.
My passion for the project: There is so much evidence. Let's get to the bottom of this.
Vanessa Shaver, Writer and Creative Producer
Super power: Whipping concepts into shape and kluging artistic vision with new technology
Career highlights: Writing an award-winning play at the age of 17. Developing TV shows for indie producers and companies such as Shaftesbury Films. Co-creating motion capture technology to incorporate special effects in live performance. Talking about the Holodeck at TEDxYork 2013.
My passion for the project: Canada is our family business and it's being mismanaged. Democracy matters, and technology is a powerful agent of change.
Chris De Castro, Animator and Visual Effects Artist
Super power: Creating great stories and bringing them to life.
Career highlights: Doing work for MUCH, MTV, CTV, NFB, Drake, Alicia Keys, Harry Potter and many more. Working on Bright Ideas at the 2010 Olympics. Picking up some honors, such as a 2012 VFX award at the MMVAs, and a couple Cannes honors. Participating in other successful Indiegogos, such as The Muse for InteraXion.
My passion for the project: Bringing the issue to life with the power of awesome!
Update 04/27/13 - With your support... A NEW TEAM MEMBER!
Christin Milloy, Web Developer and IT Project Manager
Super Power: Merging data and artistic vision. Able to leap tall issues in a single Blog.
Career highlights: Years of developing great websites for great people. Helping to realize ‘Toby's Act,” with Trans Lobby Group in 2012. Being the first trans-identified candidate for provincial office (Ontario Libertarian Party, 2011). Seeing my political blog gain national following, drawing public, media, and legislative attention to important issues.
My passion for the project: The chance to help defend democracy, to preserve the individual rights of all persons in Canada.
Help us set this right!
Our non-profit campaign to fight robocalls with robocalls is designed to hit political pressure points and to shine a spotlight on this industrial-scale election fraud, which brought in a majority government executing bold policy changes on what looks like a deeply questionable mandate. The Robocall Scandal is going to be back in the news, so to grab attention and change things in Ottawa, we need to launch this campaign soon. Spring 2013 is when action on this issue is key.
With the right forum for communication, action, and a little bit of targeted pressure we hope our elected officials will stand up for Canadian democratic values by demanding answers and creating real electoral reform.
Your support helps us, and we’ve come up with some neat perks to show our appreciation, but getting the word out about this issue matters most. Please, share this link, read our blog and sign up for our updates so you can help spread the word far and wide.
For more information or for media enquiries, please write firstname.lastname@example.org
Chriz, Vanessa, Christin, Simon & Chris
The NoRobo Co.