Thursday, March 8, 2012

Canada: Democracy under siege

What does Stephen Harper think of Elections Canada? In 2001 he called them “Jackasses”.

As in “The jackasses at Elections Canada are out of control.”

Well it appears the Jackasses are still out of control, but they aren’t in Elections Canada, they are in the Stephen Harper Party.

Canada was a bastion of freedom, a place for the world to look for inspiration. Sadly that is no longer true.

It took a long time for us to evolve from settling electoral campaigns with fist fights to buying votes with bottles of whiskey to our recent system of campaigning to present the reasons why one should vote for this candidate rather than that candidate.

No, while we were sending our ships and planes and foot soldiers to places across this world to free other countries from oppressive regimes we had an oppressive regime forming right here.

Harper said it himself, I’m in charge, I make the rules. And when he doesn’t like the rules it is fine to walk all over them. But only Him and His people.

At the same time that Harper’s Omnibus Bill to put the bad guys in prison longer, to make Canada “safer” was being debated, the Harper Party was challenging the court’s ruling against them in the “In and Out” scandal. And what a penalty the Harper Party paid, some fines, and the ones that admitted guilt kept their comfy red velour seats in the Senate.

Not long ago, the opposition parties wanted the Harper Party staffers called before Committee to answer for issues that were being raised. No less a person than John Baird rose up and shouted that the staffers were not to be called but the Ministers who were in charge. He would not stand for bullying of staffers by the Opposition Members on the Committee, but now that the Harper Party wants a Liberal staffer called onto the carpet the story changes.

Dean Del Mastro says that if the Liberals wanted then they should be willing to allow it now. I say stuff it in your hat Dean Del Mastro. Baird set the precedent, you live with it. Or does Dean Del Mastro advocate two sets of rules for Canada? One for the Harperistas and one for the rest?

In 2001 Stephen Harper warned that the Internet should not be infringed on by government and that the free flow of information was essential to Canada. His infringement of the Internet got booted to Committee in record time, likely because Vic Toews called Canadians paedophiles rather that it just being a bad law.

Ask the prairie wheat growers about Harper’s stance on democracy. They had a constitution for the Canadian Wheat Board that required that the farmers vote to dissolve it if they so desired. Harper ignored that and wrote his new law that in effect breaks the old one.

Now we have Elections Canada investigating vote suppression that occurred during the last Federal Election, the “Robocall” scandal. Harassing phone calls to non-Harper Party supporters late at night or early in the morning or on the Sabbath designed to drive supporters of the other parties away from the polls and going as far as contacting people on Election Day to falsely inform them that their polling station had been moved. Was this an attempt to keep non-Harper Party voters from voting?

It certain looks like it to me.

When the issue was raised in the House of Commons, the Harper Party response was predictable to say the least. A staffer was sacrificed, thrown under the bus and the finger pointed at him. When he denied involvement the finger was pointed at the Liberals, accusing them of undermining their own campaign efforts and suggesting that the Liberals had hired a U.S. firm to make these calls while the Harper Party boasted that they had not used any U.S. firms.

Even though the Harper Party was shown to be “in error” over these “facts” they still maintain their story.

That is called lying.

And lying to the House of Commons is Contempt.

Our only hope at this time is that Elections Canada with the RCMP will be able to trace what the message of the calls was, and who caused those calls to be made. And whether they will have the freedom to investigate this scandal.

This investigation has grown from one or two constituencies to forty or more. There are complaints of harassing calls and fake Elections Canada messages directing people to the wrong or nonexistent Polling Stations and now even voting cards directing people to incorrect Polling Stations sent to addresses, but with no names on them.

Had Stephen Harper and His Party stood with the Opposition to decry the Robocall scandal and make efforts to get to the bottom of this and see that the guilty are held accountable they might have avoided much of the scandal. But their antics, blaming a rogue operative, blaming the Opposition, and now they’re even blaming Elections Canada. This is beyond belief.

The Harper Party is standing in Elections Canada way when they ask to see the actual receipts for election expenses. And now we are finding out that although the Harper Party candidate from Guelph apparently used Racknine’s robocall services in the election, they didn’t include any charges from Racknine in their expenses.

Apparently some candidates used Visa Cards and PayPal to pay Racknine for services and then reimbursing whoever paid the charge. This strikes me as odd. When I was in business we were billed directly and paid directly. Only incidentals were handled differently, small items through petty cash, but only with the receipt.

Calls to Racknine are showing up from MLA and MP constituency offices. Constituency offices are only to be used for government business and electioneering is not government business.

But what surprises me the most is that this story has was discovered by and driven by the staunch supporters of the Harper Party, the National Post.

The National Post says they know where the Robocall scandal ends, in the Stephen Harper Party computers, in the Constituency Information Management System database.

It seems the National Post is more interested in right and wrong than being on the right politically.

Where does Stephen Harper stand?

Well we got some late breaking news…. Seems that Stephen Harper has decided to join with the NDP and support the New Democrats’ proposal to enhance the power of Elections Canada to see documents and new rules governing Robocallers… But he is mentioning something about six months from now…

And it seems that around 2700 people in the riding or Eglinton-Lawrence showed up at polling stations without voter registration cards and filled out forms in order to vote, but [in violation of the Election Act] an unknown number left their current and previous addresses blank and others used false addresses… This is a riding where the Liberal candidate complained about harassing phone calls… and lost his riding by about 3000 votes… Go figure.

Maybe we need to start running our elections like the Third World countries who are trying to use Democratic means to oust Dictators and their regimes.

I’ll dip my finger after I vote, I just hope the ink isn’t blue.

1 comment:

  1. Another wonderful Blog Bear! Keep at 'em!