Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rigged Elections

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.


reedsolomon.matr1x at said...

I don't think most people would use the word astonishing. Obvious, perhaps. Expected. Disgusting works too. But astonishing, well, not to me anyways.

John Dobbin said...

I think the astonishing part is that somehow it was thought this was not going to be discovered or that police would not be involved.

This isn't the same sort of shrug that can be made about "accounting errors" that marked the previous run-ins with Elections Canada.

This is one of those cases where a few people could go to jail.

Anonymous said...

Please provide citation instigating the provincial NDP in voter fraud.

John Dobbin said...

Anon: The NDP were forced to pay back $76,000 for illegally using union workers in the 1999 elections and then getting money for their use.

It breaks elections rules, the claim was made fraudulently since the union provided workers. I think it was a sweetheart deal that was arranged.

Anonymous said...

The manhunt is on for "Pierre Poutine"!