Sunday, June 21, 2015

He Knows An Easy Mark



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.


12 comments:

Rural said...

We, the online community, and all the opposition parties must make a concerted effort to ensure that voters know to get the identification documents required well before election day so that they can vote. Even under the previous rules many folk were turned away due to address conflicts and similar issues.

Owen Gray said...

This time around, there has to be a major turn out the vote effort, Rural. The powers that be have done everything in their power to make sure that hundreds of thousands of citizens simply won't -- or can't -- vote.

Mogs Moglio said...

Harper is truly a master of treachery and deceit. Reminds me of the intrigue that was England and Europe when Kings were the rule of law. He most likely cheated his way through K-12 and University this 'foul play' method did not develop overnight. Even Preston Manning admitted that Steve Joe would have a hissy fit and then quit if things did not go his way. "I'll quash your vote by hook nor by crook if you don't vote for ME" ----> Steve Joe Harper the First...

Mogs

Owen Gray said...

I'm sure Preston could tell some stories that he hasn't shared, Mogs. One of these days perhaps he will.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

We have nothing short of a cabal running our government Owen.

Owen Gray said...

Absolutely true, Pam. And they plan to keep it that way.

ffd said...

If you are concerned with getting out the vote, encourage people to go to the advance polls, especially if they are students or have moved recently. Then if there are ID problems, the voter has some time to fix them. Harper can`t stop a determined and organized voter, but unfortunately a lot of voters are unmotivated to do everything to get the vote they are entitled to.

Voters can also go directly to the Elections Canada local riding HQ and do the special poll which allows them to vote before the election and not on an advance poll day. The housebound voter can arrange for an Elections Canada official to go to their home so they can vote at home. At least, it used to be this way.

Owen Gray said...

There are several alternatives to showing up on voting day, ffd. And -- as you say -- if they vote before voting day, they can avoid the bureaucratic snares that have been preset for them.

The Mound of Sound said...

Why Owen, really. If it's good enough for the Slave States, surely it's good enough for the Canadian people.

Owen Gray said...

All it takes, Mound, is an acceptance of one's fate.

ron wilton said...

I believe the origin of the 'mark' is an actual mark or scratch or symbol that , during hard times, down and outers and drifters, looking for a meal in return for some menial work, would leave on a gatepost or a rock at the end of the lane to let others know that this or that particular house or farm would oblige down and outers.

We gave the harpercons a meal or two or even three in exchange for something less than would be expected, but like the charitable people of earlier hard times, we don't object to being used, but when you and your friends keep coming back for more and more and more and giving less and less in return, then use becomes abuse and it's time to head for the tool shed and take down the pitchforks.

Owen Gray said...

There comes a a time, Ron, when good citizens run con men out of town.