Two people today questioned my point that Canadian elections are growing unfair, and so produce questionable results. This lack of a clear, and legitimate winner of elections erodes peace and democracy. How do I know elections in Canada are moving in the direction of becoming unfair, and unable to produce stable, legitimate governments? The list is sadly long. Here’s a short version of it:
To refresh your memory, the Conservatives in 2006 overspent by more than $1.3M, and paid a $52,000 fine (years later) once they attained power by cheating with an “accounting dispute“.
Several Conservative candidates have over-spent on their campaigns, like Van Loan, DDM, and Penashue, but none have been charged with the crimes. Van Loan was allowed to run under an Elections Canada (EC) condition he underspend next time! Ridiculous favouritism.
One of the penalties for overspending can include not being allowed to run in the next election. A judge never decided if this should be the case for Van Loan. Penasue got corporate donations. It was alleged that DDM got corporate donations also.
Brake lines were cut in some ridings. [Routine, but criminal, sign damage throughout many elections so can’t really count that as new and building election crime of great significance.]
The Guelph Liberals ran a robocall in 2011 that failed to follow CRTC guidelines for identifying themselves, and were fined less than $5K. At the same time, someone known as “Pierre Poutine” in Guelph, connected with the Conservative campaign there, ran EC impersonation robocalls that misdirected thousands of voters, following a pattern repeated in over 234 ridings across Canada. The result of the phone calls appears to have had the desired effect for the Conservatives, based on statistical surveys by multiple reputable polling companies. The crime has not been prosecuted yet, although there is a civil action in court that may force as many as 6 by-elections of the ~234 that could have been contested. [Wealthy] residents of affected ridings had to apply to Federal Court within 30 days of learning of criminal irregularities in their riding’s election. Over 600 days have passed since this widespread election fraud. The state is not held to the same 30 day time limit in dealing with the serious legitimacy problem the irregularities created. This leaves the government in power, while notoriously slow EC investigations churn away in secret, possibly to be quiety closed later.
There were various harassing live calls made in the lead-up to the election. Elections Canada blamed the Conservatives for some of these calls as many as 3 days prior to May 2, 2011.
A company called Front Porch Strategies dodged charges despite sending American workers to Canada to assist Conservative MPs with door knocking and phone calling, which at first glance appears to be prohibited in the Elections Act where it describes appropriate involvement of foreigners in the election campaign.
An epitaph of our democracy may read as follows:
“In this case, this Office examined thoroughly the complaints received and advised the complainants that there is no evidence that the Canada Elections Act has been contravened.”
Conacher’s recent analysis of Election Canada’s enforcement of the Canada Elections Act since 2004 reveals “that the main problem is no one can tell whether Elections Canada has been enforcing the law fairly and properly because it has failed to report details of how it has investigated and ruled on 2,284 complaints in the past years.”