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Council of Canadians' blog

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The Council of Canadians is Canada's largest citizens' organization, with members and chapters across the country. We work to protect Canadian independence by promoting progressive policies on fair trade, clean water, energy security, public health care, and other issues of social and economic concern to Canadians.

Election fraud finding by Federal Court points directly at Conservative Party

| May 24, 2013

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The Federal Court has found in no uncertain terms that widespread election fraud took place during the 2011 federal election. The ruling clearly states that "there was an orchestrated effort to suppress votes during the 2011 election campaign by a person with access to the [Conservative Party's] CIMS database."

"This Federal Court decision is a major indictment of the Conservative Party of Canada," says Garry Neil, Executive Director of the Council of Canadians. "Either senior leaders of the Conservative Party were directly involved in election fraud or they were astoundingly negligent in securing access to their voter database. Illegal or incompetent -- just like in the Senate scandal."

The Council of Canadians is calling on the Conservative Party to make public the list of everyone who had access to the national CIMS database and authority to make a decision to launch such a campaign, as well as turning the information over to the Commissioner of Elections and the RCMP. The Council argues that anything less at this point would be a cover-up.

"The use of the Conservative Party's CIMS database to attack democracy and the deepening scandal around Nigel Wright, Mike Duffy and the PMO both reflect the determination of this regime to avoid accountability at all costs," says Council of Canadians national chairperson Maude Barlow.

The Council of Canadians notes that the non-cooperation, obstructionism, and attempts to derail the Federal Court case by the Conservative Party makes it look like Prime Minister Harper has something to hide.

"The Prime Minister needs to answer some serious questions," says Barlow. "Did Harper authorize the use of CIMS for voter suppression? If not who did? The Federal Court has found that CIMS was used for extensive election fraud. It's now up to Conservative Party to tell Canadians who did it."

The Council of Canadians is consulting with the applicants and lawyers as they consider an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. If these consultations conclude there is a chance the Supreme Court could overturn the Conservative MPs' narrow victories, the Council would pay the necessary legal fees.

The organization is calling on Canadians to donate for that purpose at http://canadians.org/democracy247.

Key excerpts from the Federal Court decision

[184] ... there was an orchestrated effort to suppress votes during the 2011 election campaign by a person with access to the CIMS database.

[244] I am satisfied that is has been established that misleading calls about the locations of polling stations were made to electors in ridings across the country, including the subject ridings, and that the purpose of those calls was to suppress the votes of electors who had indicated their voting preference in response to earlier voter identification calls.

[245] ... I am satisfied ... that the most likely source of the information used to make the misleading calls was the CIMS database maintained and controlled by the CPC, accessed for that purpose by a person or persons currently unknown to this Court. ...  the evidence points to elaborate efforts to conceal the identity of those accessing the database and arranging for the calls to be made.

[246] I find that the threshold to establish that fraud occurred has been met by the applicants. 

[253]... I don't doubt that the confidence rightfully held by Canadians has been shaken by the disclosures of widespread fraudulent activities that have resulted from the Commissioner's investigations and the complaints to Elections Canada.

[256]  [the voter suppression] calls appear to have been targeted towards voters who had previously expressed a preference for an opposition party (or anyone other than the government party)

[261] ... it has seemed to me that the applicants [supported by the Council of Canadians] sought to achieve and hold the high ground of promoting the integrity of the electoral process while the respondent MPs engaged in trench warfare in an effort to prevent this case from coming to a hearing on the merits.

[262] Despite the obvious public interest in getting to the bottom of the allegations, the CPC made little effort to assist with the investigation at the outset despite early requests. I note that counsel for the CPC was informed while the election was taking place that the calls about polling station changes were improper. While it was begrudgingly conceded during oral argument that what occurred was "absolutely outrageous", the record indicates that the stance taken by the respondent MPs from the outset was to block these proceedings by any means.

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