The New Democratic Party (NDP) suggested in a press conference today that the Conservatives rigged the May 2011 federal election against the Bloc Quebecois, NDP and Liberals. Call it election rigging western style. Apparently, RackNine Inc, a Conservative Party-linked firm called 18 key swing ridings and sent opposition voters to false voting stations or incorrectly advised them of changed polling locations.
Outspoken Winnipeg NDP Member of Parliament Pat Martin (pictured) is understandably furious. This is a naked assault on Canadian democracy.
And New Democrat MPs Alexandre Boulerice and Charlie Angus have rightly written to the Commissioner of Canada Elections requesting a full investigation. Rightly so. The NDP was the biggest loser here. The party lost a handful of seats by a few hundred votes. In Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar (Saskatchewan), the Conservatives beat the NDP 14,652 to 14,114, for a 538-vote margin of victory. In Elmwood-Transcona (Manitoba), 284 votes separated the two parties. The NDP polled 14,996 to the Conservatives’ 15,280.
This could be a game changer for Canada. The Conservative Party holds a slim 10-seat majority in Parliament.
And the NDP’s letter to Commissioner of Canada Elections:
February 23, 2012
Commissioner of Canada Elections
c/o Elections Canada
257 Slater Street
I am writing about potential criminal election violations reported today by the Ottawa Citizen and Postmedia in the article Fraudulent election calls traced to Edmonton firm with Tory links.
As the story outlines, and has been documented in the past, the 41st General Election was tarnished with a series of controversial automated phone calls near the end of the campaign. These calls seemed to be intended to suppress voting and discourage supporters of other parties. There were also calls claiming to be from Elections Canada advising electors of changed polling locations and other misinformation designed to disrupt voting.
Today’s news reports seem to draw a direct link between these calls and a company called RackNine Inc. If true, many of the activities allegedly undertaken by RackNine Inc. are explicitly prohibited by the Elections Canada Act.
Some of the sections that may have been violated include:
- 43(a) and 43(b): the wilful obstruction and impersonation of the duties of an election officer
- 56(e): the misuse of information obtained from the Register of Elections
- 281(g): the wilful endeavour to prevent and elector from voting
- 480(1): the intent of delaying or obstructing the electoral process
- 482(b): to induce a person to refrain from voting The article also outlines the possible involvement of Conservative Party operatives in these activities.
If any electoral campaign, registered party campaign or entity working on behalf of a registered party supported these dirty tricks and disrupted Canadians from exercising their right to vote, further sections of the Elections Canada Act may also have been violated.
The Conservative Party of Canada has an unfortunate history of breaking the rules around elections, as demonstrated by their pleading guilty to violating the Canada Election Act and their complete disregard for Canada’s fixed election date law.
For many, these dirty tricks are just further evidence of how Ottawa is broken and tarnish the democratic process.