Friday, May 24, 2013

Robocon: Court finds fraud; Council of Canadians should appeal

The court yesterday found that fraud had been used in the May 2011 election in 6 ridings in an attempt to suppress the vote, as this article from the Globe & Mail sets out:

However, “fraud” did occur – particularly in Guelph, Ont. – and targeted people who had previously expressed an interest in voting for anyone but the Conservatives, Justice Richard G. Mosley wrote in his ruling. But there was little evidence the robo-call efforts actually kept anyone away from the polls or that the robo-calls had any “major impact on the credibility of the vote,” he ruled.

The source of the robo-calls was “likely” a Conservative database, accessed by a person unknown to the court, he ruled. But the calls’ impacts were “thinly scattered” outside of Guelph, and “the scale of the fraud has to be kept in perspective,” the justice wrote.

“Had I found that any of the successful electoral candidates or their agents were implicated in any way in the fraudulent activity, I would not have hesitated to exercise my discretion to annul the result,” the justice wrote. “... No such evidence was led.”

The calls nonetheless struck at the integrity of the electoral process by attempting to dissuade voters from casting ballots for their preferred candidates,” the justice wrote, saying such a form of voter suppression was “largely unknown in this country” until 2011.

Both sides saw good news in the case. The Council of Canadians said it was considering an appeal to the Supreme Court, noting a “judge found that the election was marred by widespread fraudulent activities.”

Let's hope that the Council of Canadians does appeal the decision.
We need to fight tooth and nail to preserve our democracy, no matter who tries to block us.

And the judge went on to say this (quoted in The Council of Canadians website):

Judge Mosley himself praised the eight applicants for their virtue, while chastising the Conservative MPs. "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."

And Mosley even made special note of their shameful obstructionist tactics, stating, "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 an indictment of the willingness of those MPs to get to the bottom of the attack on our democratic right to vote.

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