Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Sunday, February 26, 2012
It is rather astonishing the revelations about the robo-calls that took place in the federal election last fall that misdirected voters away from where they were supposed to go or tried to confuse or anger voters. The Conservative party has been implicated in this using technical gadgetry and voter lists that are in their possession.
The Conservative response has been two-fold. One is to accuse the opposition of doing the same and two, to say that it is the work of one individual. One Tory staffer has resigned.
Rigged elections are nothing new in Canada. We have seen both the NDP and PCs in Manitoba use fraud, voter suppression, illegal advertising or spending or plain stealing or questionable ballots or theft of voter boxes. The Filmon Progressive Conservatives faced the wrath of the electorate over tactics used to split the NDP vote.
The NDP learned from this and ensured no investigation was ever done on the 1999 election campaign where they used union workers resulting in $76,000 that had to be returned to Elections Manitoba. Bit of a sweetheart deal and no further inquiry was made. Ancient history for some but we have seen continued suppression by the NDP of their part in illegal activity. And in the most recent election, we saw some gaming of the system when reporters were invited to the birthing centre in contravention of the law.
But Manitoba provincial politics is not what we're talking about here. It is the federal Conservatives under Stephen Harper who may have really stepped in it. The machinery of the Conservative party has been used to disrupt election intentions.
Lists of people who identified as Liberal were used to make calls to turn the tides in an election. This is considered breaking the law.
The RCMP should be contacted and a complete investigation done by Elections Canada.
There are probably many Tories laughing at all this. Some might be saying: So what? Other might accuse the Liberals or NDP of doing worse over the years.
The truth is they should be concerned. If someone was able to access their lists, their vote call machinery and a budget to make those calls, they should be sweating. It bespeaks of a lack of control at the top.
If it turns out a lot of people were involved, it might prove bad as well if charges are laid.
The Conservatives might think: Oh, we'll win this in court. Like we always do. Or in the court of public opinion, we'll win.
However, think of Gary Filmon and his shock when people actually did remember the fraud from the previous election.