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No dirty tricks, Mr. Harper

Posted on February 25, 2012 | No Comments

Bob Rae holds a press conference in Toronto Danforth on recent allegations of dirty tricks in the 2011 election.

Any Conservative MP, candidate or party official who has any knowledge of the widespread vote suppression campaign during the last election must turn the information over to the RCMP or Elections Canada for investigation, said Liberal Leader Bob Rae today.

“These MPs, candidates and Conservative Party officials all benefited from an elaborate web of under-handed vote suppression tactics, that included but didn’t stop at, false and misleading phone calls,” said Mr. Rae. “If they don’t come forward with what they know then they are complicit with electoral fraud that, certainly in my mind, is on the scale of ballot box stuffing. It is hard to believe that in a scheme this widespread and elaborate, there are not a large number of people who would have knowledge of some of the things that took place and who directed it all.”

Mr. Rae released a list of 27 ridings in which the Liberal Party has received reports of misleading or harassing phone calls, as well as other tactics that were used to prevent probable Liberal supporters from casting a ballot.

“Unfortunately, this doesn’t end at phone calls,” said Mr. Rae. “We have heard reports of aggressive people acting on behalf of the Conservative Party outside of polling locations misleading voters, often seniors or new Canadians, in an attempt to prevent them from casting a ballot. There are also extremely disturbing reports of scores of ‘instant voters’ who cast ballots in certain ridings in which they were not actually residents.”

Mr. Rae noted that some of the alleged violations, including falsely impersonating Elections Canada or a Liberal campaign, go beyond a violation of the Canada Elections Act and may even result in a conviction under the Criminal Code.

“For the phone scheme alone, there were hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of phone calls which would have required hundreds of phone bank callers using targeted lists in over 25 ridings. This would have cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to pull off. To even suggest this was organized by one lone 23-year old staffer is beyond ridiculous,” added Mr. Rae.

Read the full news release here.

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  1. Avatar of Geoff Plummer Geoff Plummer said on

    Although I find this scandle very distasteful I’m not in the least surprised. My question is what happens next? I feel that a by-election is totally in order in all the effected ridings should these charges be proven correct and right now that appears to be the case. If this government has been elected on false pretenses then everyting they force through is to me invalid – so what happens can it all be undone? Can the Long Gun registery be re-instituted? Truly a mess. What a terrible situation this country is now in.

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  2. Avatar of Luke Hilchie Luke Hilchie said on

    Unless the Conservatives are found to be totally cleared of the charges, the Liberal Party (and the NDP for that matter) must not let the public forget about this outrageous scandal. Somehow, the Conservatives had been immune to countless mini-scandals; the opposition must do better to make this stick.

    What will happen if the Conservatives are found guilty of electoral fraud? What course of action does Elections Canada or the law recommend/require? Will a few by-elections suffice, or are we looking at an unexpected, full-out election in the somewhat near future? If the latter is true, that will be a difficult course for the Liberals and the NDP, what with no permanent leadership in place currently, and in the NDP’s case, a brand new leader in the near future.

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  3. Avatar of Cheryl MacIntyre Cheryl MacIntyre said on

    Election Now!!

    As there is no way of measuring ‘exactly’ how much damage and interference the robo calls had in the last election, suffice it to say they did have an impact and the way the Cons used them is illegal. The use of illegal tactics in any Canadian election is enough to repudiate the entire election.

    An election must be called and there should be no compromise on this, anything less is unacceptable.

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  4. Avatar of said on

    #dirty tricks #Elections Canada Act# mischievous phone calls … In my book, the tactics would qualify as hate communication … hate-filled and hate-ful and motivated by hate, as well as all the other adjectives you could use …

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  5. Avatar of Helen Hanratty Helen Hanratty said on

    While I think Mr. Rae handled today’s revelation re Vikileaks with as much grace as possible, it might be a good idea to change the headline here.

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  6. Avatar of Richard Richard said on

    Link to Leadnow petition, for those who want to sign.

    http://www.leadnow.ca/robocall-fraud.

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  7. Avatar of Bruno Santia Bruno Santia said on

    I fully agree with Joanne MacDonald’s comments here.
    Let’s get some more facts before going on with “mouths” a blazing that can backfire. Was making those signs behind Bob truly necessary, professional, and New “L”-“dignified” politics, before we know the whole story?

    1) If the leadership of the Conservative party was aware of this lowest and disrespectful of strategies, I would not want to be in their shoes today. Any government which has underestimated the intelligence of it’s populace does not last long nor end positively. I also doubt they can successfully bury this if there was any involvement. There are many smart reporters out there looking for a story….

    2) What does it say about the voters who got duped by these supposed calls? Is Bob saying they were all Liberals and they cost us seats?

    We seem to want to win elections on knee jerk negatives and opposing failures and faux pas rather than steadily building positives that are too high for the others to reach or tear down…

    If we are not careful, they’ll be adding a “mud-registry” to replace the one they just abolished…..

    Let’s get some more facts first…..PLEASE !!!

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  8. Avatar of Luke Hilchie Luke Hilchie said on

    Yes, Joanne and Bruno – facts are certainly needed, and not taking the apparently power-hungry route is both more righteous and a better strategy.

    This issue has me thinking though – do the Conservatives even need to have been culpable for by-elections to be necessary? I mean, we know that election tampering took place, so does it matter whether it was done by some rogues or third parties as long as the results are suspect? What a mess.

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    • Avatar of Bruno Santia Bruno Santia said on

      luke:
      It’s their mess.
      They are the Government with a Majority to boot.
      They are responsible to defend Canadian democratic values and integrity.
      Let’s see what they do. Let’s have the confidence in the judgment of the people to hold them to account when more facts come out.

      Is it possible there was not one Liberal who got the “false” call that could have spilled the beans and uncovered the scandal on election day.

      This does not reflect well on Liberals either I’m afraid.

      It is no secret that the political opportunistic strategist, Mr. Harper,campaigned to target specif seats to get him over the top. I blogged on the subject during the election and it’s there for the public record. (I was not a party member at the time. The reason why is also in the blog if anyone is interested.)

      The fact of the matter is that our own so-called strategists and leaders did not see or did not know how to counter such poor, divisive and low political approach. If they had, we would not have finished third.

      It’s time to renew our party, but I’m afraid we seem to be continuing with the same old same old politics that is negative and dis-engaging more and more of our fellow Canadians.

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  9. Avatar of Jarek Walter Jarek Walter said on

    It’s too bad that the Liberal staffer showed a bad judgement by publishing personal information about the Minister on a tweeter account. The fact that the information was public is not an excuse – it shouldn’t have been used on a political stage. However we looked at it, it falls into different category than the robocalls scandal. One is assess based on moral standards the other on the articles of the Criminal Code of Canada.

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    • Avatar of Jarek Walter Jarek Walter said on

      Is there an option to edit the comment by the original author?

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  10. Avatar of James Mills James Mills said on

    This is a matter for the Elections Canada and the RCMP to address through the justice system. The Voters do not want political rhetoric detracting from the legal issues in this matter. In this matter the voters will view rhetoric by the Conservatives, and anyone else, as deceitful.

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  11. Avatar of said on

    The robocalls sound like quite a nasty piece of business that has been an effective attack on canadian voters.Lets keep seeking the truth of course.And we are in times where soon more sacred fires will be sent to earth.The essential force,that includes the enablement of delivering more truths to the peoples.
    Hats off to Mr.Rae for his truthful delivery on the vikileaks issue.
    Of course it wont take much more than a dozen mps to change the current scene on the hill.Reminds me of how each and every human on earth really is equipped with the great powers that be.

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  12. Avatar of James Mills James Mills said on

    Be warned. Those who lower this serious matter to the level of Political Rhetoric will suffer in the opinion of the Voters. This is a matter for the police and Elections Canada to investigate, and bring before the courts. The Liberal Party must be above Political Rhetoric in this matter, and stand for due process of law.

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  13. Avatar of David Fisher David Fisher said on

    No dirty tricks, Mr. Rae!!
    Now it’s the LPC that is caught in dirty tricks. That sure takes the heat off Mr. Harper. It’s good that you fired the LPC staffer who did the vikileaks smear. But don’t stop there, unless you are satisfied with one resignation from the Conservative Party about the illegal robocalls. Maybe it’s time to fire the National Director of the LPC, and/or to turn over the fired staffer to criminal charges. Somehow, Mr. Rae and Mr. Crawley must raise the culture of the LPC; we might as well start with with the national office.
    Canadians have a very low opinion of all politicians regardless of party. Dirty tricks further soil the image of all MPs. If we want Canadians to repudiate the Conservatives’ dangerous anti-democratic schemes, we Liberals must offer a real alternative. Not just complaints about losing the election.

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  14. Avatar of André Brisebois André Brisebois said on

    Hi David,
    Thanks for your comment. I would just like to correct the record because there is an important distinction to make with the various Party offices. The staffer that was responsible for the Vikileaks did not work in the Party’s national office. He worked for the liberal research bureau which is an office of the House of Commons and is not related to both the National Director or Mike Crawley, the new President. The employee involved has advised Bob that he took this initiative on his own, has apologized for his action, regrets the embarrassment he has caused and has offered his resignation. Bob Rae has made it quite clear that political controversy is one thing, personal attacks are another. As others have pointed out in their comments, it must be noted that the employee’s actions were not illegal like the robo-calls to suppress votes, but were rather immoral in nature.

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    • Avatar of Bruno Santia Bruno Santia said on

      André:
      I appreciate the distinction but we again are calling something illegal before we have any proof.
      A Liberal Canada believes in innocence before guilt is proven. let’s act our values….
      This will backfire if we act on speculative hope that the other team cheated.
      Why is it that we cannot keep the high ground and just watch them squirm and try wiggling out of THEIR mess?
      So far, the score is 1-0 in their favor. We had to apologize, yet we still have an accusing picture on this site’s home page with no proof ????

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      • Avatar of Gregg Guptill Gregg Guptill said on

        Bruno et al,

        While I agree we must be careful in how we approach this election fraud matter, I believe it is crucial for us to be seen as being out front and on top of this. “Laying back,” so to speak, “waiting for something to happen” or “more proof” will demonstrate a serious, perhaps fatal degree of weakness.

        We must demand serious action that will get to the bottom of this affront to Canadian democracy … in a timely manner!
        – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

        You are correct when you say we do not yet have conclusive proof (explicit evidence) as to WHO orchestrated and executed the robocall (and live call) attack.

        We do have more than adequate proof (at least in my opinion) that there was a well organized scheme, the purpose and effect of which was to cause a large number of Canadian citizens to either not vote – or change their vote. Regardless of who was involved, that constitutes a crime.

        Yes, a crime.
        – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

        Today, the House unanimously approved a motion that “asks all MPs to turn over to the RCMP and Elections Canada any information they have on what was termed a “despicable” phone campaign aimed at discouraging opposition supporters from voting.”

        http://www.ipolitics.ca/2012/02/27/commons-agrees-to-support-probe-into-robocalls/

        That is a good start, but its just a start. We need to keep up the pressure in order to have this matter ‘resolved’ PRIOR to the next General Election. After all, the 2006 issue of campaign overspending by the Conservatives was not resolved until November, 2011 …

        Meanwhile, TWO elections later, the perpetrators basically ‘walked away.’

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        • Avatar of Bruno Santia Bruno Santia said on

          Gregg:

          I did not suggest we remain silent and allow the issue to go away unresolved. I do strongly suggest that we do not throw or been seen to throw accusations based on hear-say or anyone’s personal opinion of who is responsible.

          As of this morning, we Liberals are on the defensive, when it comes to ethics, because we went shooting pucks before we even knew where the net was!!

          Being vocal while carrying out our “opposing responsibility” does not mean playing by the same old disengaging, accusatory, and sound bite grabbing politics that Canadians are sick of….

          Harper did not win the last election….WE LOST IT and handed it to him on a silver platter. We lost it because Liberals by-passed the Democratic process by acclaiming an imported leader. The faster we understand that the faster we’ll start renewing and get the great majority of Canadians to join us…

          Let’s focus on fixing our own internal democracy and watch what happens to our membership numbers without having to build “telemarketing” fund raising centers to match theirs….

          Lastly, if any fellow Liberal perceives my contributions on this blog as being too negative, allow me to reassure you of one thing…

          I will be my family’s biggest critic from a devil’s advocate perspective and with the objective of pushing us to be the best we can be…. but rest assured I will defend our values with the greatest of passion. If anyone thinks I’m negative with our own family, buy tickets to one of my debates with a Harper Conservative and donate the money to the Liberal cause !!!!

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  15. Avatar of David Fisher David Fisher said on

    Andre, it’s fine to correct the record on the facts. But my “fact” remains: the evidence points to the LPC culture being just the same as the other parties. That’s how most Canadians see us.
    The RCMP’s reputation has been seriously damaged by several front-page events that might have been caused by “rogue staffers” but many of us suspect are expressions of an internal culture. The PM wants Canadians to believe that illegal robocalls were the act of an isolated “rogue staffer.” Why should Canadians see vikileaks as any different? How are we going to convince Canadians that we Liberals are different? We have to manage the perceptions, not just the facts.

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    • Avatar of Martin Showell Martin Showell said on

      I think most Canadians are able to distinguish between something illegal – robo-calls and live calls where the caller falsely identified themselves as Elections Canada officials to disseminate false information – and a lone, over-zealous liberal party worker who tweeted publicly available information – not very nice but certainly not illegal.

      The way we are showing we are “different” is that Bob Rae immediately upon learning the truth, dealt with the employee, apologized in the House to Vic Toews before all Canadians, and has taken personal responsibility for what happened – even though he did not have anything directly to do with the incident.

      Contrast that with Stephen Harper who refuses to even acknowledge that anything wrong was done, refuses to initiate any kind of investigation – public or internal, stands in the House saying “prove it, prove it” like some schoolyard child, and even if something is proven I guarantee you, will not accept any responsibility but will hide behind “plausible deniability”.

      To me the differences are huge and glaring and I have faith that most Canadians will also see the difference.

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      • Avatar of Bruno Santia Bruno Santia said on

        Martin:
        I fully agree that Canadians will see the difference between bad judgment and what is illegal, if facts are found to validate what is so far speculation….
        What they won’t see is any difference between how the two parties do politics if we chose to throw mud before we have proof.
        Again, I urge everyone to push to remove the picture on this site’s home page….
        All it is doing is reminding everyone of Mr. Rae’s apology….and that we are “no different”…

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        • Avatar of Martin Showell Martin Showell said on

          But we are different! One lowly, overzealous LPC worker made an error in judgment (nothing illegal) and Mr. Rae immediately apologized in front of all of Canada and accepted personal responsibility. Mr. Harper has never taken responsibility for anything done by his party members (or his cabinet ministers) and has never apologized for any of his party’s myriad offenses against Canadian democracy.

          There is little question that “something” illegal was done during the last elections. But, let’s leave that one alone for now…

          The signs behind Mr. Rae don’t say anything about law breaking or even robo-calling they just say… “No dirty tricks Mr. Harper”.

          Remember that the picture you want removed is from a political rally in a current by-election. What is wrong with reminding voters that the conservatives and Mr. Harper use “dirty tricks”?

          What about when the conservatives had their offices raided by police and ultimately pled guilty to reduced charges of violating the Elections Act. What about falsifying documents (Bev Oda)? Or slush funds (Tony Clement). What about Irwin Cotler? Or Proroguing parliament to avoid the democratic process. What about being found in “Contempt of Parliament”?

          If you want a list of conservative dirty tricks that have been denied, gone unanswered, and never apologized for, read this (thanks to Christopher Birch for this link):

          http://www.ipolitics.ca/2012/02/27/lawrence-martintrouble-in-toryland-their-dirty-tricks-catalogue/

          Why shouldn’t we point these things out to voters? Why should the conservatives be allowed to get away with this behaviour…again?

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          • Avatar of Bruno Santia Bruno Santia said on

            To answer your question Martin,….,because we should be better than them and not lower ourselves to their despicable level.

            The country knows Harper has publicly stated he wants the Liberal party off the map.
            He has to live with the fact that he represents a very narrow minority of great Canadians who may have differing viewpoints.

            I may not agree with what a conservative says at times but I will defend to the death his right to say it.

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  16. Avatar of David Fisher David Fisher said on

    Martin makes good points. And my suggestion about firing somebody in the LPC hierarchy was hyperbole. But my point remains that we need to improve our own culture. Politics always has a combative partisan component. But so does police work. We ask our police to work with people who are violent, unpredictable, rude, etc. and behave in honorable ways even in the face of such provocative actions. Tough job! Should we not expect the same of our politicans and their staff? The young man who resigned is in some sense a victim – the combative political culture perhaps suggested to him that his action was appropriate in the face of provocative comments by the other side. Mr. Rae showed good leadership by removing the staffer and apologizing the House. I just wonder if more leadership is needed so this doesn’t happen again.

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    • Avatar of Martin Showell Martin Showell said on

      Agreed. Leadership is the key. I believe that this type of behaviour tends to trickle down from the top. In light of the fact that Mr Harper’s publicly stated goal is to “destroy the Liberal party” is it any wonder that his lower ranks see that as a call to arms – to do whatever is necessary to meet the leader’s goal, including even sacrificing themselves for the cause.

      Mr Rae has taken a bold step by doing the right thing. I suggest that this approach be reinforced at all levels of the party. Managers of party workers should sit down with their staff and lay out what is acceptable and what is not – they should take responsibility for all those under them. Further any party worker who thinks he has a good idea for taking action either for his party or against another party, should be encouraged to take the idea to his peers and to his management. Vicileaks is a good example, I think, of an individual going “over the top” and hopefully his management and his peers would have pointed out how wrong it was and directed this person’s “enthusiasm” in a more suitable direction.

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      • Avatar of Bruno Santia Bruno Santia said on

        Martin:
        I support your views and suggestions on Managers of the Liberal party taking responsibility for those on their respective teams.

        I also agree on Leadership being the key. While I support Bob Rae for initiating the “sincere” apology, I cannot support that he totally put the blame on a “loyal staffer”. He did have the option to apologize, refuse to accept the resignation of the staffer, ensure and direct the staffer to learn from his mistake in judgment and finally hold the whole Liberal team to account by sharing responsibility. By accepting the resignation he indicated that the buck stopped at the “loyal staffer” who made the error. Can someone tell us how many managers and or supervisors are between the Leader/President positions and our ex-loyal staffer who we just pushed under the bus?

        Should investigations uncover facts that someone in the “C” party was responsible for the “robo-scandal”, I doubt Liberals would believe he/she stood alone. Why do we believe it and accept it when it’s in our house?

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        • Avatar of Martin Showell Martin Showell said on

          You may be right that a better approach would have been “remedial” instead of “punitive”. However, I am not sure that would have been accepted by Mr. Toews or the House. And, it is important that a clear message be sent that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated.

          I think Mr. Rae did take personal responsibility and referred to how “…’we’ did not meet that standard…”. Further, the statement “I shall be making clear that political controversy is one thing, personal attacks are another” hopefully is referring to some training of some kind. So, for me at least, I didn’t get the impression that the “buck stopped” with the staffer. I also don’t think he was “pushed under the bus”. What we were told (and I choose to believe) is that he chose to come forward and he offered his resignation.

          I think if investigation by the RCMP and Elections Canada show that only one person was responsible for the robo-scandal then we will accept that, what choice will we have?

          But again, these two “scandals” are not the same at all. One was easily perpetrated by an individual (and isn’t illegal)…anyone can set up a twitter account and anyone can get access to public records. But the election fraud scandal involves now over 27 ridings, liberal telephone lists, thousands of dollars in service fees to Rack9 and others…it just doesn’t sound like it was one rogue worker acting alone. We’ll have to wait and see…

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    • Avatar of Jarek Walter Jarek Walter said on

      We, as Liberals, are to blame for not doing enough to erase “the dirty tricks” from our party operations. The delegates to the last conventions, refused to allow supporters to vote in local EDA’s nomination meetings leaving the door open to “tricks” (bringing the nomination meeting only members just for a vote, running an EDA as a clique of insiders etc.). Voting down the constitution amendment to limit the number of MP candidates nominated by a leader is an another example where the door was left open to inside tricks and politics which don’t have anything in common with a democratic process. It seems to me that there is a massive work to be done if we really want to became the party where high ethics and exemplary values would be used as a guiding principles. On the other hand – is it possible in politics where back room deals, secret alliances and unspoken rules are considered normal?

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  17. Avatar of Jarek Walter Jarek Walter said on

    Isn’t it ironic (under current circumstances) that the quote

    “A belief that good and responsible government is attentive to the people it represents and has representatives who at all times conduct themselves in an ethical manner and display integrity, honesty and concern for the best interest of all.”

    comes from the CPC Constitution?

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  18. Avatar of James Mills James Mills said on

    Clearly, the tactic of the Conservatives is to claim all opposition criticism is a Smear campaign.

    In the matter of the RobCalls the Police and Elections Canada are investigating, and will bring the evidence before the courts. If the Liberal Party makes any allegations that are not same as those of the Police and Elections Canada; then the Conservatives will hyperbolically dismiss all Liberal criticism of the Conservatives as Smears.

    Support the investigations of the Police and Elections Canada, but do not engage in political rhetoric about this issue.

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  19. Avatar of Luke Hilchie Luke Hilchie said on

    James,

    I don’t think all mention of this issue by opposition parties should be interpreted as ‘political rhetoric’. The job of opposition parties is to appropriately criticize the government and make sure the public is well aware of government transgressions. I feel that if the opposition parties approach this massively important issue too meekly, they will be letting the public down and will appropriately appear weak and inept.

    I think I see your point, though. The Liberals, NDP, and Greens are in a position where they might overstate the scope of the problem, or assign blame before the evidence has coalesced. I think these parties can keep the pressure on the government so this problem doesn’t disappear from the public eye without making baseless accusations, but they need to be careful about the specifics, both in terms of the scope of the accusations and the language used to make them.

    I strongly feel that this issue must stay alive between now and the completion of the formal investigations, as long as the distinction between fact and likelihoods or interpretations remains clear. It’s too important to be ignored.

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  20. Avatar of James Mills James Mills said on

    Luke: I appreciate your reply.

    I do not see it as political rhetoric to call attention to the Conservative demagogic disregard for democracy. We all know this … The Conservatives have been found guilty of the In and Out scheme under the Elections Act. The Conservatives have prorogued parliament; and imposed closure, and in camera committees, with shameless frequency.

    The Conservatives have ended the per vote subsidy. A practice recommended in support of democracy (by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, among other international organisations engaged in advancing democracy.) While attempting to financially undermine those who oppose them, the Conservatives have spent millions of Taxpayer dollars to promote Conservatives. (The advertisements for the Conservative Economic Action Plan (so called), are Conservative propaganda at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars.)

    However, the Conservatives are now claiming they are the victims of opposition smears. In the matter of RoboCalls … the Police and Elections Canada are investigating the RoboCalls. The Conservatives are pretending to be the victims of Smears; and anything said that the Police and Elections Canada do not place into evidence, will be characterised as a Smear by the Conservative.

    Support the Police and Elections Canada in their investigation. This issue is not going away.

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  21. Avatar of Robert Pentney Robert Pentney said on

    I have to side with Luke on this issue (Sorry James).
    There is a duty for the Opposition to question the government regarding any issues that call the governments position into question. That could relate to anything that touches on the way the government runs its affairs and does the business of the country.

    Luke has nailed it when he states that it is a matter of HOW a question is worded that distinguishes that question from an accusation.
    More to the point is that by asking those questions the Opposition obliges the government to go on record with its response. That factor is key and cannot be overstated in its importance to the integrity of our parliamentary process. It is the immutability of the parliamentary record that stands as witness to the positions and statements of MPs in the House through which later when all the information is in can be compared to the final truth of a matter. This is a major check and balance of our system of government.

    While “perceptions” are of course, a consideration in politics, they can never be allowed to hold a party hostage to the point where it fails to do its job in the House due to fear of political repercussions. That’s why what’s said in the House is not subject to the normal libel and slander laws.

    James said “The Conservatives are pretending to be the victims of Smears; and anything said that the Police and Elections Canada do not place into evidence, will be characterised as a Smear by the Conservative.

    So what? The conservatives will say whatever they decide to say. We have no control over that and as such is not our concern. What is our concern is that any questions that are asked have been properly researched, with accompanying documented evidence and thoroughly vetted before being raised in the House. That assures that no matter what the conservatives say, we know we are on firm ground. I do agree that we should not go off half-cocked as it were.

    Your requirement James, that all evidence must first be affirmed by Elections Canada and the RCMP is completely unworkable since those are confidential investigations and not shared with the Opposition (and I sincerely hope not the government). This issue will be long silent in the House if you waited on those investigation reports to be released before questioning the government on this issue. Furthermore by limiting the scope of sources of information you limit the ability of the Party to address this issue in the House at all since by your definition anything not coming from those two sources would not be substantiatable. This is simply not true. We have sources of information at our disposal which in some cases may address evidence that is completely unknown to authorities and which ca shed new light on the investigations. Tough questioning in the House could also lead to developing new sources from people who may know things and under such pressure decide to come forward.
    Why do you think Sona spoke up tonight? Its because people kept asking questions that pressure him to do so for his own protection. I doubt Elections Canada or the RCMP have even questioned him yet.

    This is not IMO, the time to lift the pressure on the conservatives provided as I stated above, there is a solid basis for the questions raised in the House. Let the conservatives scream as much as they want. We will just ask the questions all the more politely.

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  22. Avatar of James Mills James Mills said on

    You make convincing points Robert Pentney and Luke Hilchie. A Royal Commission does bring witnesses forth that might not be found by Police and Elections Canada. Why would the Conservatives not want a Royal Commission? Already there is a voice recording falsely claiming to be calling on behalf of Elections Canada, which is illegal. Certainly there is more than enough cause for a Royal Commission. If the Conservatives do not call a Royal Commission it certainly raise the question why.

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  23. Avatar of Anca Nedelcu Anca Nedelcu said on

    Happy spring to all “Liberals Ladies”! Good Luck to Mr. Gordon Grant!
    We love you! Anca Maria

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  24. Avatar of stuart douglass stuart douglass said on

    I just heard on the World at 6 that the Conservative Party is going to go over to RMG (the call center under investigation) and they are going to “listen to every call” before Elections Canada gets there.
    Let me ask you, have you ever heard of an investigative body announcing its plans beforehand, then allowing the prime suspects into the possible crime scene for several days first?
    This is like a banana republic.

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  25. Avatar of Robert Pentney Robert Pentney said on

    @sdouglass… That the conservatives will be reviewing the tapes is all over the boards on CBC as I write this.
    I don’t know what can be done to stave this review off unless Bob Rae pressures Elections Canada to stop it. Personally I find it alarming that Elections Canada , for all its claim to investigative confidentiality, saw fit to announce publicly that it was going to go after RMG thereby giving the conservatives a heads up. Those tapes are evidence one way or the other and the conservatives should not be allowed anywhere near them.
    Who would believe that those tapes weren’t sanitized (even if they weren’t)and would anyone trust that party to hand over damning evidence?

    Additionally, Le Devoir has released an article stating that in 14 out of 18 ridings in Quebec, CPC candidates were advised by the National Party to pay some $15,000 dollars each to RMG for “Polling information”. When interviewed, the candidate for Rimouski told Le Devoir’s Hélène Buzzetti he received nothing for that money, even though it exceeded 25% of his whole campaign costs.
    Does this not seem like another in and out scheme to you?

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  26. Avatar of ryan kavanagh ryan kavanagh said on

    If the Prime Minister uses his majority to vote against or block the legislation then he is effectively saying, publicly and irrevocably, “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the actions taken and I will let them continue in the future.”

    I think the other thing we need to remember is that fake calls like those made in no way forced people to stay at home and not vote; it just made them much less likely to vote for US, THE LIBERALS. If the people who received those calls wanted to, they could’ve voted Green, NDP, hell, if they were in my riding of Ottawa South they could have voted for Mark Bleskie and the Pirate Party out of protest.

    The more I think about it, it’s arrogant of us to call for bi-elections in those ridings that received calls. We don’t OWN voters; they have freewill. In fact, I think it speaks to the status and nature of our party (perhaps only at that time) that people received these harassing phone calls and BELIEVED that they were coming from us. It seems like they didn’t call their local party affiliation or MPs to complain (which is too bad, because if this had been discovered last April it would’ve been HUGE) because they got the calls and just thought “Those damned Lieberals are at it again” or something similar. We should have caught this while it was happening.

    Unfortunately, we didn’t, and that sucks.

    But done is done. The Prime Minister pulled a nasty trick on us and so far there’s nothing in the rule books that says what he did was illegal.* Let’s change that. If we make noise about criminalizing that behaviour one of two things can happen; (1) We are successful in getting the legislation passed and would (I believe) receive all the benefits outlined previously; or (2) the legislation is stalled or stopped by the Conservative majority and we will have gained our first real policy and value for 2015: “the Liberals believe in honest, fair elections and, if elected, we will enact legislation that ensures the activities carried out in May 2011 – or any similar to them – never happen again. Governments should be elected based on the merits of their own positions and policies, not by how capable they are at slinging mud in the other guy’s face.”

    I think that’d be pretty cool and a nice change for the nature of Canadian politics.

    *I know that there have been allegations about impersonations of Elections Canada, but i still, personally, need these confirmed. The only thing I know for sure is that harassing calls were made impersonating the Liberal Party.

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  27. Avatar of ryan kavanagh ryan kavanagh said on

    I agree with you that our current government is illegitimately founded; it has a majority when 2/5 Canadians didn’t go to the polls and now this has come out. It’s nothing new that a minority of Canadians are calling the shots for all of us.

    But done is done.

    The problems are that a) there is nothing in the Criminal Code about making the other side look bad, either through attack commercials (which everyone has used in every election, unfortunately) or through phone calls such as these, and b) that voter apathy is caused mainly through too many elections; it’s why biennial Congressional elections in the US always have lower turnout and why in the 2011 election – our the 3rd in 5 years – Canada had the lowest turnout ever. Cliche I know, but this makes me think of the Kenny Rogers song The Gambler, and, in particular, the lyrics of “knowin what to throw away and knowing what to keep.”

    Of course, none of this means that action can’t and, more importantly, shouldn’t be taken. For the reasons I outlined previously, I don’t think immediate elections are in the best interest of the Liberal Party. A thought that I had just from reading your response (and for that provocation, thank you!) but what if instead of making a stink and calling for bi-elections, we make a stink and call for changes or an addition to the Criminal Code. Make behaviours such as impersonating the other party’s members or harassing its supporters criminal. As you said, and as I believe to be true, a broad, non-partisan swathe of Canadians feel that this robocall and harassment call-center situation is intolerable and, therefore, it is reasonable for one to assume that such changes to the CCC would have similar broad support. In this way, the Liberals can be seen as protecting the future of Canadian democracy and being gracious losers, even when the other team played underhandedly. Further, the Conservatives, while perhaps not catching charges in this instance, would be made retroactively criminal. Finally, if the Liberals could get such legislation passed it would speak volumes to their abilities – especially when in a rump-third party status – to act while at the same time make a nice contrast with the Conservatives’ own crime bill, C-10. In this way I think we could have our cake and eat it too.

    P.S. I just want to acknowledge that I am being hypocritical when I deride the Conservatives for being power-seekers while at the same time advocating a course which is more pragmatic than principled so that the Liberals can (I hope) win an election. It’s just that, as a young person, I don’t see either the NDP or the Conservatives taking Canada down the right path or being capable of doing so in the future; neither can really be trusted with the wallet and both are too far from the center in their social proscriptions. At the same time, I think that the very necessary restructuring that is ongoing within the Liberal party (restructuring that hasn’t given us time for a leadership convention, let alone 14 Toronto elections) means that we could be the right choice to lead Canada once more, while at the same time leaving us in a precarious position such that we might not make it through 2015. The current Prime Minister has demonstrated that to be successful, politics need to be planned for the long – not short – haul and I desperately want the Liberals to make it there.

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