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Delicious irony

You might remember a court case involving the Conservatives “in-and-out” spending scheme which seemed to favour the Conservatives initially, causing Conservative MP and spokesperson Pierre Poilievre to crow the “total vindication” line:

Last January, a Federal Court judge rejected Elections Canada’s claim that advertising expenses attributed to Tory candidates during the 2006 federal election should have been reported as national campaign expenses. The Conservatives claimed “total vindication” at the time, while Elections Canada sought leave to appeal.

However, it seems the Conservatives find out they may have gotten a bit ahead of themselves, and that 3 Cabinet Ministers are in peril from this ruling, as well as Maxime Bernier:

But […]


In-And-Out returns once again

I kind of like how we seem to lurch from one scandal the Conservatives have on their hands to another different one on a seemingly weekly basis – it keep the news fresh and the discussion interesting, if you know what I mean. It also lets the public see how much crap this Conservative government has gotten into in the time it’s been in power.

Anyhow, I know there is a lot going on elsewhere today, but if you want to get yourself re-acquainted with the “In and Out” election financing problems the Cons. have with Elections Canada, Kady O’Malley of Macleans is live-blogging the proceedings at the Ethics Committee here. The Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Canada, Marc Mayrand, has been testifying so far, and it seems he’s aiming squarely at the Cons. claims of persecution:

Looks like the Conservatives arent the only ones on the offensive Mayrand just took on the But every party does it; why is Elections Canada picking on us? argument that Pierre Poilievre, among others, brings out so often. He asked the agency to look into that claim by examining all party returns for the last few election cycles. His conclusion? No, they dont.

Should be a fun day up there at the Hill 🙂

[email protected]:05 pm: Part 2 of Kady’s Liveblogging is here, where among other things, you’ll see Pierre Poilievre’s conspiracy theory claims on parade.


Conservatives hope public cynicism towards their acts means they go unpunished by the electorate.

There is an op-ed in the Toronto Star today penned by Nelson Wiseman, politicial science professor at the University of Toronto which asks a very good question: “What kind of country has a ruling party that mounts an assault on its election watchdog?”

A question that is difficult to answer. Even in Zimbabwe, where the tyrannical Robert Mugabe and his party rule with an iron fist, the country’s electoral commission wasn’t attacked when it finally released results showing Mugabe had lost his parliamentary majority. Canada and its governing Conservatives are in very isolated and dubious company indeed.

More importantly is the observation by the professor that such things as this attack on Elections Canada, the Mulroney-airbus affair, and the stonewalling of the parliamentary enquiry on the Chuck Cadman affair by the Conservatives will reinforce the publics cynical view of all parties, if not the electoral system in general.

I can’t help but think that is what the Conservatives want to happen. They want the electorate to believe that “everyone does in-and-out financing”, and they want to make the general electorate cynical towards the whole electoral process.

Why? Because, it will blunt anger toward them, and it perhaps will even depress turnout in a future election, in a country that is already experiencing falling participation rates in elections. The combination of low turnout and a cynical electorate, plus using these attacks on them as a way to rally the Conservative base to come out and vote to save them from the federal civil service/Liberal Party/media conspiracy (and the base of the Conservatives will come out and vote, as they believe these bogeyman stories) may prevent the Cons from getting deservedly booted out of office.

It is that Cons. strategy that needs to be fought against both by the opposition parties and the progressive blogosphere in order to prevent this cynicism from developing amongst the voting public. The job on the anti-Conservative side is to stoke the anger of the public against the acts of this Cons. government, to make the public or the majority of the public want to remove this government.

[email protected]:30AM: A reader from the UK informs me in comments that since the release of the election results, Mugabe and his police have started harrassing and arresting certain election officials with the eye of being able to influence the results of the presidential runoff, so post-election, Zimbabwae is obviously attacking its electoral body with much more venom then Canada’s Consrvatives are. It still doesn’t say much for Canada’s government when they share places with Zimbabwae in attacking their own country’s electoral commissions, even if Mugabe is more extreme in his case of doing it.


Naive Con Kool-Aid drinkers takes Pierre Polivere’s statements as the Gospel

So, Christian Conservative is valiantly trying to go with the notion that somehow Elections Canada is picking on the poor Conservatives and is biased/full of Liberal moles/hates free speech, etc etc. etc.

The impression I get from his blogpiece is that apparently Pierre Poilievre under the cover of parliamentary immunity quoted out of Hansard is an authoritative source for that theory.

Let me help you out Christian Con; Pierre P. is NOT a credible source. He’s been the point man on this for the Cons. since this scandal started, and neither do the media believe him outside of the National Post editors, nor do the overwhelming majority of Canadians believe […]


Interesting facts about Elections Canada

An anonymous commentator over at CalgaryGrit responded to Dan’s feeling that if the current governing Cons. has no confidence in Elections Canada, then officials will either resign or get fired (Linda Keen’ed was his apt description). That commentator made some excellent points why this wouldn’t happen, and they bear repeating here:

Under s. 13 of the Canada Elections Act, the House of Commons appoints the Chief Electoral Officer by resolution. The CEO may only be removed for cause by the Governor General on address of the Senate and House of Commons. In other words, the Governor in Council has no power to remove the CEO, for cause or otherwise. Only the Governor General, on the advice of Parliament, has that power. The Commissioner is appointed by the CEO pursuant to s. 509 of the Canada Elections Act. As it is the role of the Commissioner to ensure the Act is enforced, I doubt anyone other than the CEO could remove the Commissioner, and then only for cause. So, it is irrelevant insofar as the CEO or Commissioner’s security of tenure is concerned that the government has voted no confidence. What is important is that the CEO retains the confidence of Parliament, which he has.

That commentator then makes an interesting follow-up - what really matters is what happens next:


Conservatives declare no confidence in a federal institution.

With regards to the Bloc Quebecois Motion that stated more or less roughly in translation asking “That this House express its complete confidence in Elections Canada and the Federal Elections Commissioner”, the motion passed as expected, but the Conservatives apparently don’t share the sentiment, as they unbelievably voted against this. The final vote was 152 – 117, for those keeping track.

So I guess the question that needs to be asked is will the Conservatives boycott the next election? I mean, they obviously think Elections Canada and its commissioner (the Conservative – appointed commissioner I might add) is unfair and biased against them, with the “in and out” ruling going against them, so how can they participate in a biased election with an apparently biased federal agency?

I have a suggestion Conservatives: do a mass resignation now in protest, and let someone else be government.

[email protected]:21pm: Andrew Potter over at Macleans sarcastically wonders if its time to bring in the UN election observer teams, since the Conservative government apparently has no confidence in its federal agency that runs elections.

UPDATE [email protected]:32pm: This is a headline that just thrills me to death to see: Harper Tories Vote Non-Confidence In Elections Canada. And the part of this newstory that amuses me to no end are these 2 parts:

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have refused to join in a parliamentary show of confidence in Elections Canada, the independent watchdog charged with ensuring electoral fairness and honesty..The organization also trains election officials around the world and has monitored contentious votes in places like Haiti, Iraq and Ukraine.

The implication being that Haiti, Iraq and the Ukraine and other countries trusts Elections Canada to be fair, but our own Canadian government doesn’t. OUCH!


What the CPC press office really meant to say..

Per Kady O’Malley, we see the CPC Press Office has released a statement explaining today’s.. uh.. activities at Conservative Party HQ. Here’s what I think they really meant to say with their statement, with me using strikeouts and adding my translations in bold where applicable, cuz I think they’ve missed some stuff. I’ll helpfully add it in for them for free however:

Today Elections Canada visited raided the Conservative Party of Canada Headquarters with the aid of the RCMP. This is related to an on-going court case initiated by the Conservative Party of Canada in the spring of 2007, because if we didn’t challenge Elections Canada’s ruling that we’d overspent during the last election campaign, we’d have been ruled in violation of Canada’s Election Laws and we’d have been penalized. The Conservative Party has involuntarily provided Elections Canada with all the information that they have requested, with the RCMP making sure we turned everything over.

Much more accurate, in my opinion.

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