Thursday, December 04, 2014

Make No Mistake. It's Madness


Some commentators have suggested that, after the Michael Sona trial, no political party would be stupid enough to try any robocall shenanigans. Linda McQuaig has her doubts:

If you’re a low-level political operative, the conviction of Conservative party staffer Michael Sona for his role in the robocall scandal may well have deterred you from committing voter fraud in the future.

But if you’re a high-level political operative, the outcome of Sona’s trial probably left you emboldened.

After all, even though one judge concluded that there was deliberate organization behind the effort to misdirect voters, and another judge concluded that Michael Sona could not have acted alone, the Harperites managed to shut the whole investigation down:

Certainly, the Conservatives seem to have dodged a bullet. After months of investigation and court proceedings into allegations of an organized attempt to send non-Conservatives to the wrong polling stations on election day in May 2011, the party itself has emerged with (technically) clean hands.

Blame for the scandal was meted out solely to Sona, the former party operative in Guelph who was sentenced to nine months imprisonment and released on bail this week.

Avoiding any responsibility was no small feat for the Conservative party, given how strongly the evidence pointed to some sort of organized scheme, presumably involving the authorization — or at least the tacit co-operation — of high-level officials within the party.

And with the "Fair" Elections Act now in place, they have made sure that there will be no further investigations:

That’s because the government’s controversial election reform package includes a section that prevents the Commissioner of Elections from revealing any details about investigations being conducted by Elections Canada.

The robocalls came to light only because, after receiving complaints of electoral irregularities (primarily involving Guelph), the Commissioner of Elections began to investigate and filed a court application related to that investigation. After the details of the application were picked up by the media, there was a flood of complaints from citizens across the country reporting they received similar misleading phone calls on election day.

Had the new “muzzling” rule been in place, the application filed by the Commissioner would have been sealed, preventing the public from knowing about the initial investigation — the trigger that prompted the nationwide response, allowing the public to see a larger pattern of possible voter suppression.

There is a method to their madness. And make no mistake. It's madness.


Bill said...

The Conservatives recent history for corrupting democracy may be too tempting to not be repeated on some scale this election round as they are even more desperate. Given that election fraud investigations will now be muzzled I think a good counter to the Con attack ads (?already produced? and which seem to work) is needed.

One aspect to counter the Con negatives would be direct, and positive national campaigns by both Opposition parties on the Cons diect handcuffing of voter democracy. These campaigns would remind all Canadian voters that there has been past election fraud and that the newly passed Conservative muzzling section now calls for even greater vigilance for all citizens towards all parties to any perceived election frauds, suppressions and dirty tricks to ensure our democracy. This would be a positive message to voters clearly contrasting with the negative attack ads that Harper will probably flood the airwaves with - just more of the same.

Given the mountains of arrogance and corruption Canadians have endured under this Con regime I think the Oppositions need to take a number of such new tacts in their election campaigns. For change to happen we need new messages that resonate change for a better Canada not more of the same and worse.

Owen Gray said...

I think you're on to something, Bill. The evidence is overwhelming -- and the contrast with Conservative rhetoric is stark.

mogs moglio said...

It is madness Owen Harper truly believes he can do what ever he wants. But allot of the laws he has passed are up for Supreme court scrutiny as the complaints flood in.

Owen Gray said...

True, Mogs. Unfortunately, Harper hasn't figured out that even the judges he appointed aren't going to let him have his way.

Rural said...

If the opposition dont make this and all the other things that the Cons have done to subvert democracy (limiting debate, omnibus bills, silencing government departmets etc etc) then they also need a good swift kick, Owen. Somehow I dont think we hear much about it though...... except perhaps from Elizabeth May who has consistently brought attention to our failing system both in the House and in her various public speeches and articles.
It MUST be front and center if Canadian Democracy is to survive.

Owen Gray said...

I agree wholeheartedly, Rural. The next election should be about our democracy. It's not the economy, stupid. It's the democracy.

Lulymay said...

The problem is that we are left to rely on the MSM to report these and other offences carried out by the ReformaCons and I just don't see that happening. Other than a a very short list, most MSMs are totally on side with Harper as well as the pretend Liberals in BC.

I do agree with Bill, though, that a concerted effort to bring out these offensive dirty tricks perpetrated by the Harper Gang is probably the best time to highlight the skullduggery that is regularly carried on.

Let's hope that both opposition parties realize they are dealing with a group whose bottom line is to get elected and there are no rules or ethics when that is their only goal. It has never been to govern on behalf of the majority of Canadian citizens.

Owen Gray said...

Harper is where he is Lulymay, because both opposition parties underestimated him.

Anonymous said...

There were two Americans Wenzel, Parker and Front Porch Strategies, that directly participated in Conservative campaigns in Ontario. Harper's man Cote said, he had no jurisdiction to chase down the robo-calls, that came out of the US.

What is really disgusting regarding Harper is? One of his x-mas interviews when he said, he was a devout Christian and prayed for guidance everyday. My son spewed his coffee and said, Harper must have meant, he *preyed* everyday?

Most Dictators have very similar characteristics. Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini had very similar personalities. Harper certainly fits the profile of a paranoid dictator. His security bill has doubled.

Owen Gray said...

It's all about maintaining power at any cost, Anon.