rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Elections Canada keeps secret thousands of rulings, MPs fail to ask key questions

Elections Canada head Marc Mayrand took a small step towards much-needed transparency when he disclosed today at a parliamentary committee hearing that, in fact, a total of 800 complaints were filed by voters about false phone calls during the 2011 federal election.

However, in part because MPs failed to ask him key questions about Elections Canada's enforcement record, Mr. Mayrand continued to keep secret details about rulings on complaints from past elections, and details about 1,000 other complaints filed with Elections Canada by voters during the 2011 election.

Elections Canada received a combined total of 1,281 complaints during the 2004, 2006 and 2008 elections, and an unknown number of complaints in between elections since 2004. Elections Canada has never disclosed any information about these complaints and what it did with each complaint.

To give Canadians confidence that it can trust Elections Canada to enforce the law properly and ensure fair elections, Elections Canada must report a summary of the nature of the complaint, and the decision it made and enforcement actions taken, for all of these complaints -- 1,281 complaints from past elections, and 1,703 complaints about the 2011 election.

If Elections Canada refuses to disclose this key information, Canadians have a right to assume that Elections Canada is covering up questionable investigation and enforcement activities.

And every provincial, territorial and municipal election agency should also be disclosing, and required to disclose, information about each complaint received and how they handle complaints, to help ensure fair elections across the country.

Thank you for reading this story...

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all. But media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our only supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help.

If everyone who visits rabble and likes it chipped in a couple of dollars per month, our future would be much more secure and we could do much more: like the things our readers tell us they want to see more of: more staff reporters and more work to complete the upgrade of our website.

We’re asking if you could make a donation, right now, to set rabble on solid footing in 2017.

Make a donation.Become a monthly supporter.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.