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Election fraud - it's time for accountability

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Photo: flickr/postbear

 Author update: 

I Do Not Accuse the Conservative Party of Canada of Voter Fraud

When a friend mentioned that my blog on the Efraud cases was a popular item in the rabble blogosphere, I decided to see for myself. But to my surprise, and  chagrin, I found the blog I wrote under the heading “Conservative Party of Canada perpetrated widespread election fraud in 2011”.  Surprise: because the title I submitted was “It’s about accountability now” – in fact that is still the title of the piece on my own, very rarely visited, blog site, where it first appeared. Chagrin: because I have not, and do not accuse the CPC of perpetrating voter fraud, and no such allegation was made by the Applicants in the Efraud cases. It would have been irresponsible and reckless for them to do so.

As Andrew Coyne put it in an excellent piece written about the Federal Court decision, the case had discovered the smoking gun of voter suppression, but didn’t determine who it was that pulled the trigger. In fact the discovering who the villains are is up to Election Canada, what the Federal Court case was about was restoring the democratic franchise to those who had been defrauded, whoever the perpetrators might be.

 Thus, as my blog related, Justice Mosley found that the applicants had established that widespread voter fraud had taken place during the 2011 election and that he was " .. 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."

 What we have learned since, is even in the face of such a disturbing judicial finding, the Harper government has declined to call a public inquiry into what is arguably the most pernicious attack on democratic rights to ever blight the Canadian electoral landscape, at least in my voting lifetime. The CPC has shown a similar disinterest in finding out who it was that apparently used its data base for such a nefarious purpose.

Correction: rabble.ca apologizes for any confusion resulting from our editorial decision to change the author's original headline. The headline has now been updated to reflect the author's original suggestion. rabble.ca routinely changes headlines to improve searchability of stories, but in this case the headline implied an opinion that was not found in the blog itself.

 On May 31, 2013 the Applicants announced they would not be appealing judgement of the Federal Court in the "election fraud" cases they had brought to contest the outcome of the May 2011 election in six ridings across the country. As the Applicants explained, the judgement represented a complete vindication of their contention that widespread voter fraud took place during that Federal Election and they saw no point in continuing the fight to protect their democratic rights in the Courts.

The judgement speaks for itself on the extent and manner in which that electoral fraud was perpetrated during the last federal election. Here is what the judge had to say:

"The...evidence confirms that there was a deliberate attempt at voter suppression during the 2011 election."

"I'm satisfied that is has been established that misleading calls about the locations of polling stations were made to electors in ridings across the country...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." 

"I find that the threshold to establish that fraud occurred has been met by the applicants."

The judge was also clear on how the fraud was carried out:

"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."

The judge also accepted the Applicants evidence about the type of person who would have been able to access the CIMS data base for the purpose of defrauding non-conservative party supporters:

"Access to a party's central database is carefully controlled. The calls at issue in these proceedings are most likely to have been organized by a person or persons with: i) access to the central information system of a political party that included contact information about non-supporters; ii) the financial resources to contract voice and automated service providers to make such calls; and iii) the authority to make such decisions." [183]

Finally the judge had some choice words to say about how the Conservatives had conducted themselves:

"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."

"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."

What the judge didn't do was exercise his discretion to annul the results of the election notwithstanding his findings that a concerted effort had been made to defraud non-conservative party supporters in the ridings at issue. Absent evidence that the local candidates had been involved, or an accurate body count of electors who didn't vote -- he was not prepared to require that by-elections be held.

So why didn't the applicants appeal? Because as they explained, having found the smoking gun, the priorities were now to i) find those responsible for pulling the trigger (nod to Andrew Coyne), and ii) to prevent a future such drive-by shooting of the electoral process (I paraphrase to continue the metaphor). An appeal to the Supreme Court would accomplish neither, and as it had come to light during the course of the litigation, the problem was much larger than the outcome of the election in 6 ridings.

At the press conference convened to announce their decision, the Council of Canadians that had raised funds to support the case, delivered a virtual ultimatum to the Conservative Government -- table legislation to effectively prevent any reoccurrence of electoral fraud; and convene a formal public inquiry to get to the bottom of the 2011 electoral fraud. The Council vowed that it had no intention of letting the Government off the hook if it refused to act. 

One final note: responding to the decision, Fred Delorey who speaks for the Conservative Party tweeted: We are pleased that this baseless case by the activist Council of Canadians was dismissed by the court." In response, Michael Sona who had been charged as the culprit behind voter suppression in Guelph, responded: "Fred, if you try and spin any harder, they're going to name the Sea King replacement "The DeLorey"

Steven Shrybman, and his colleagues at Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, represented the Applicants in before the Federal Court.

Photo: flickr/postbear




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