2.26.2012

robogate: vote suppression must be investigated, by-elections must be held

What will be done about RoboGate? Has Stephen Harper's well-documented pattern of giving democracy the finger finally gone too far?
Thanks to an excellent election post-mortem by Matt Peters and Ryan Boldt on rabble.ca last year, we know that the Conservative Party won by a very narrow margin in dozens of ridings, in some cases beating out NDP and Liberal candidates by only hundreds of votes (some within dozens).

The scope and breadth of RoboGate has yet to be known, but every day more ridings are reporting robo-calls and deceiving messages from the 2011 election. Could the Conservatives have, in fact, stolen their majority victory?

Even before what I call RoboGate (or, as other media have coined, 'RoboCon'), we had a litany of abuses --from the Conservatives pleading guilty to illegal election spending (the 'in-out' scandal), to being found in contempt of Parliament, pork-barrelling millions in G20 cash into cabinet minister Tony Clement's personal riding, and deploying military brass to find dirt on opposition members.

But a scan over current federal legislation on the books shows an insidious and systemic rightwing worldview -- one that threatens Canada's (potential for) democracy.
We need an investigation. We need a do-over.

15 comments:

James Redekop said...

A friend of mine did a little math:

Using this link and CBC's riding-by-riding election map, I've identified nine ridings which experienced election fraud (some confirmed, some not) where the margin of victory was less than 5000 votes. In every case, it was a Conservative pickup. The Conservative majority is 13 seats.

James Redekop said...

Looks like Harper's Tories picked up more than warmongering and backwards social principles from their GOP friends.

laura k said...

Here's three words I may have never said before: read Andrew Coyne.

There isn’t any doubt that this was election fraud; whoever did it, if caught, is almost certainly facing jail time. In the particular case of the riding of Guelph, Ont., as reported by Postmedia’s Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor, Elections Canada investigators have traced the calls to an Edmonton-based “voice-broadcast” company, RackNine, that has done work for a number of Conservative politicians, including Stephen Harper — though the calls were apparently made through it rather than by it. Elections Canada believes it knows the identity of the caller. One agency email obtained by Postmedia refers to “Conservative campaign office communications with electors.” Another warns: “This one is far more serious. They have actually disrupted the voting process.”

So, no, we do not know for a fact that the calls came from anyone acting on the authority of the Conservative party. But, well, let’s say it fits a pattern — if not of outright lawbreaking then certainly of close-to-the-wind tactics and ends-justify-the-means ethics.

laura k said...

Looks like Harper's Tories picked up more than warmongering and backwards social principles from their GOP friends.

Indeed. It's very scary and very serious. Now we need the Opposition to not learn from the Dems.

James Redekop said...

The only positive lesson to be learned from US politics is that US politics is only good for negative lessons.

James Redekop said...

Hey, if we ever find out that, say, Harper made the decision and gave the go-ahead to make the fraudulent calls, will we be able to say that he "crossed the Robocon"?

Alea jacta est!

laura k said...

Har har har. If only such a thing would come to pass. The much sought-after smoking gun. They already hung one staffer out to dry, who's next.

laura k said...

An isolated incident... in 34 ridings? How does he say that with a straight face?

(Don't answer that.)

James Redekop said...

Well, technically, it was 34 independent isolated incidents.

James Redekop said...

Here is a nice catalogue of the current government's dirty tricks.

tornwordo said...

Another stolen election, sigh. I thought I had left that crap behind.

laura k said...

Another stolen election, sigh. I thought I had left that crap behind.

I know. It's depressing.

But how will the Opposition and the people respond? That could be the difference.

Andromeda Mesmer said...

Good question about the reaction of the Canadian public.

But somebody is either worried or curious.

Got a phone call today (Tuesday) around 7 pm EST, asking for my opinion of Harper. I have no idea who it was, and the person hung up quickly when told that Harper panders far too much to the Americans.

laura k said...

I had a pollster call today, too. Nothing too unusual there. You probably just flustered them with a response they didn't expect.

I don't know if the Cons are scared, but the poll is SOP.

laura k said...

Here is a nice catalogue of the current government's dirty tricks.

Very nice short version!