Opposition to the Prime Minister is building. But Stephen Harper has always known that more voters despise him than support him. That's why the Fair Elections Act -- with its truly Orwellian title -- is now law. Linda McQuaig writes:
Stephen Harper's re-election strategy depends on a lot of you not voting. And if you mess with his plan by showing up at the polling station on Election Day, he's prepared for that, too: he's made it a lot harder for you to vote.
The prime minister has made it so much harder that "many tens of thousands" of Canadians may be denied their constitutional right to cast a ballot in the upcoming federal election, according to Harry Neufeld, former chief electoral officer for British Columbia.
When Harper spouts his line about Conservative values being Canadian values, he knows that what he's saying is patently false . But he's been very good at rigging the game in his favour. That's because he's very good at a very old type of fraud -- bait and switch:
The Conservatives put the new election laws in place ostensibly in response to the national outcry over the robocall scandal, in which party operatives were accused of using automated phone calls to direct non-Conservative voters to the wrong polling stations on election day. The misleading calls were reported in ridings across the country and appeared to be targeted based on information from closely guarded Conservative party data.
In the end, only one person, Conservative staffer Michael Sona, who worked on a local campaign in Guelph, was convicted and jailed. However, in his verdict, Judge Gary Hearn wrote that "the evidence indicates he did not likely act alone."
The scandal raised the extremely serious question of whether the governing party had deliberately undermined the legitimacy of election results. Surely what was needed was a thorough investigation and a tightening of the election laws to ensure no such thing ever threatened our democracy again.
What we got instead was a bait-and-switch that the Conservatives have turned to their advantage. They overhauled the election laws all right, but the new laws did nothing to prevent the sort of treachery involved in the robocall scandal. If anything, they make it tougher to uncover robocall-style deception in the future by preventing the release of details about investigations conducted by Elections Canada.
He's a con man of considerable talent. And he knows an easy mark when he sees one.