Not just "robocalls" - that diminutive buzzword that the media clings to - but election fraud: a deliberate, targeted attempt at voter suppression. The conservative media has framed the ruling as a victory for the Harper GovernmentTM, because the court stopped short of nullifying the election results. But the ruling was very clear. Judge Richard Mosley wrote:
I find that electoral fraud occurred during the 41st General Election.Some important and potentially damning details still have not been revealed. Who had access to the Conservative Party's database? Who orchestrated and authorized the election fraud? Let's join the Council of Canadians in demanding the Conservative Party answer those questions. They won't do it, of course. But let's show them we're paying attention.
Go here to send your letter through the Council of Canadians.
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The ruling itself could not be clearer. Here are some choice excerpts. (A copy is posted here.)
* "Misleading calls about the locations of polling stations were made to electors in ridings across the country" . . . and the calls "appear to have been targeted towards voters who had previously expressed a preference for an opposition party."
* 247 ridings were affected by fraud complaints.
* There was a "deliberate attempt at voter suppression during the 2011 election."
* "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."
* "There was an orchestrated effort to suppress votes during the 2011 election campaign by a person or persons with access to the CIMS [Conservative party] database."
* "RMG [marketing company], at the direction of the CPC [Conservative Party of Canada], called hundreds of thousands of electors and read a message stating that: “Elections Canada has changed some voting locations at the last minute”. This included calls to electors in five of the six subject ridings. The information was factually wrong in that there had been only one polling station change in all of the six subject ridings in which RMG made such calls….It was therefore improper for the CPC and RMG to deliver the message they did, and this should not recur."
* "I am satisfied that [it] 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."
As Dr Dawg points out, Judge Mosley came down hard on the Conservative Party's use of the legal system to obfuscate, foot-drag, stonewall, and otherwise impede the democratic process. From the decision:
* "In reviewing the procedural history and the evidence and considering the arguments advanced by the parties at the hearing, it has seemed to me that the applicants 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. . . . 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."
Judge Mosley awarded costs to the Council of Canadians, meaning the Conservative Party has been ordered to reimburse the expenses associated with all that foot-dragging and stonewalling. The Party of Transparency and Accountability strikes again.
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The Council of Canadians is calling on the Conservative Party to come clean: give us a list of everyone who had access to the national CIMS database and the authority to initiate those calls, and turn over the information to the Commissioner of Elections.
Let's all get on board with that. Take five minutes from your day, and write a letter. Show Stephen Harper that some Canadians are paying attention. Go here to send your letter through the Council of Canadians.
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