Yet I’d had something of a premonition of the outcome during the last few days of the contest. At doors I canvassed I kept hearing certain stories about how I spent too much time in Africa, or that my voting presence in the House wasn’t too impressive. When I informed them that I only spent one week a year on that continent (Sudan), and that I take it on my holiday time over New Years and on my own dime, I could sense the hesitation in their voice. “Oh … that’s not what we heard when the Conservatives phoned us last night.” Something that hadn’t been an issue heretofore was suddenly looming large in the final days.These, by the way, are the same sort of tactics not only employed by the US political parties, but the worst of the worst of the worst of these political parties. Indeed, it seems highly reminiscent of the tactics employed by George W. Bush campaign during the 2000 Republican primary against then-respectable Senator John McCain, which blanketed the state of South Carolina with robocalls that claimed McCain, among other things, fathered an illegitimate black child, was unfit for the White House due to his years as a POW, and many other disgusting smears that utterly destroyed the character and record of what was once a great moderate voice in the Republican Party (he isn't any longer).
... It was frustrating, but I didn’t know who to talk to. It was only when the election was over that a good Conservative friend informed me that they had actually been utilizing a central office for phone calls and that none of them emanated from London itself. They had poured big money from afar into influencing my riding. What I had thought to be a local campaign had suddenly taken on national dimensions.
While not nearly as slanderous, to their credit, these Conservative robocalls are of the exact same intention - to smear, discredit, and outright lie about a candidate's record in order to both drive down turnout and switch allegiances. It is a disgusting tactic that, sadly, seems effective. We need to fight back against this sort of thing, and the same goes for the New Democrats, who if they haven't faced it yet, they will soon enough.
Speaking of the New Democrats, Pearson also notes that a lovely vote split in his riding allowed the Conservative candidate with little presence and little name recognition, Susan Truppe, win the riding with a less-than-2,000 vote bump, while Pearson dropped nearly 3,300 votes and the NDP candidate rose by over that amount. Here's a quick chart below to demonstrate how:
Maybe next time we'll learn, on both accounts, how to avoid this sort of disaster again.