Lately, a lot of allegations have been made
that there were election irregularities and some outright crimes committed in
the 2011 election. What we do not know
is who was responsible.
But we may be dealing with a serial
offender, or offenders. When one thinks
about the election skulduggery of the last six years, it is clear that Canada
does a poor job of getting to the bottom of some serious crimes.
Here’s a short list of the ones that still
bother me. They remain unsolved.
- RCMP interference in the 2006
election. (Remember Zaccardelli issuing a press release about looking into NDP
charges that the Liberals had leaked details about the income trust taxation
issue? There was nothing to it, but it arguably changed the outcome of the
election.) Issuing a press release in an
election campaign was a violation of RCMP normal practice. Naming a Finance Minister in the release was
unheard of. The Public Complaints Commission for the RCMP, under its director
Paul Kennedy, tried to question former RCMP Commissioner Giuliano
Zaccardelli. Zaccardelli refused to be
questioned and Kennedy lacked subpoena powers.
No one knows if there was any political involvement, inducement or
pay-off involved. Zaccardelli is now a senior Interpol officer in Lyon, France.
- How hard did the Conservatives
try to bring down the Martin government in spring 2005? Did the effort include the offer of a million
dollar life insurance policy to Chuck Cadman?
It was alleged, there was a tape.
What happened to the investigation?
If it happened, it was illegal.
- The Conservative campaign in
the Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley in 2008. Courageous MP Bill Casey had been expelled
from the Conservative caucus for voting against the 2008 budget which violated
the contract with NS, known as the “Atlantic Accord.” In
2008, Casey ran as an Independent. The
Conservative Candidate Joel Bernard left Stockwell Day’s office to challenge
him. (In an interesting side-bar, the entire Conservative riding association
insisted that Bill Casey was their candidate. The Conservative Party fired the
whole of the local executive and appointed a secret group to choose their candidate.) Casey was re-elected handily. After the election, Casey learned that
Bernard’s campaign had gone to the RCMP and alleged that Casey had embezzled
funds from the Conservative riding association.
There was no truth to such charges, but it also emerged that efforts had
been made to peddle the story to the local media during the election. Media did not cover it because Casey’s
reputation for integrity made it too implausible to treat seriously. But making unsubstantiated allegations and
wasting RCMP resources were themselves possibly criminal acts.
- In 2008, well-documented
robocalls were made into the riding I now hold -- Saanich-Gulf Islands. There are many details of this case in my
previous blogs. It was clearly
illegal. The automated calls claimed to
be from the NDP and demonstrably were not. The home fax line of the NDP riding
association president had been “spoofed.” (So that his number appeared to be
the source of the calls.) Calls were
made that urged citizens to vote for the NDP candidate who had withdrawn from
the race. The robocalls may well have
changed the outcome of the election.
Yet, Elections Canada dropped the case and ruled no laws had been broken.
- Were Larry Smith and Fabian
Manning given any promises that if they left the Senate to run for a Commons
seat in 2011, and were to lose, they would be re-appointed to the Senate? Both Conservative Senators vied for a seat,
one in Montreal, the other in Newfoundland. Both lost and were re-appointed to the Senate
within weeks of the May 2, 2011 election. Democracy Watch demanded an investigation as,
if such a promise was made, it violated the Criminal Code.
Add these to the spate of calls in 2011 designed
to misdirect voters to non-existent polling places, the allegations of a secret
Conservative bank account in Vaughan. Add
to that the legal, but unethical, use of “voter suppression” techniques –
attack ads, writ periods at the legal minimum length, disgusting behaviour in
the House of Commons – and you have a toxic recipe for poisoning democracy.
Canadians must not allow allegations of
serious election crimes to be swept under the carpet once again. It may be that the guilty party has a “win at all
costs” attitude; an acceptance of the morally bankrupt idea that anything goes
and the only sin is getting caught.
We need to know and we need to stop it.