First of all, some people question why all the complains now and not 10 months ago right after the 2011 May 2nd federal election? Here is a possible simple answer, and I believe sometimes the simplest answer is the right answer. We Canadians are a trusting bunch of people. Many of us even if we had received one of the fraudulent robocalls, we might have not complained because we assumed it might have been just a one off “mistake”. It is often in hindsight and when we realized we are not alone, and in this case, many many other Canadians reporting experiencing the same problem, then the earlier “one off mistake” is proven to be a part of a deliberate and systemic campaign and that is fraud and not a “mistake”.
It is also important to note that the person/entity behind “Pierre Poutine” (2011 Voter suppression campaign) has to be found and bought to justice under our laws and the electoral complains have to be fully investigated. The foundation of our democracy is being attacked and it is up to us Canadians to stand up and defend Canada. Canadians will not accept American style dirty tricks in our election campaign.
I’ve called my MP to politely express my grave concern even the office staff rudely hung up on me before I had a chance to finish telling her my concern.
Here are some of the news,
“The investigation currently underway at Elections Canada is reviewing whether there was an active campaign of robocalls to interfere with citizens’ right to vote. The calls on and before election day directed voters to non-existent polling stations, which opposition MPs have alleged was an active campaign of voter suppression.
“That’s not just illegal, it’s wrong,” said Ned Frank, a constitutional expert from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. “What you have here, in my view, is a perversion of our electoral system.”
Franks said Elections Canada needs to follow the money in the investigation to determine who paid for the calls. It also must figure out how recipients were selected from a database of callers as well as who created the database and who owns it.
If Elections Canada finds the calls were illegal, it would then have to determine whether the calls swayed the outcome of the voting in affected ridings, he said.
“What they can do, and it’s a judgment call – is to declare the election null and void and call a byelection,” Franks said.
Anyone found guilty of interfering with someone’s right to vote faces a maximum penalty of $5,000, five years in prison or both.
“If someone is representing themselves to be Elections Canada, giving false information, changing the polls, and the purpose is to confuse electors to the extent that you’re attempting to discourage them from voting, then that is against the statute, in my view,” said Jean-Pierre Kingsley, Canada’s chief electoral officer from 1990 to 2007.
“This is not small potatoes because what you are trying to do is interfere with the right of Canadians to vote and that is a constitutional right in Canada.””
* National Post, “Robocalls scandal puts Canadian democracy in ‘uncharted waters:’ Bob Rae”
* Globe and Mail, “Elections Canada taps CRTC for help with deluge of robo-call complaints”