This is a bit rich, but entertaining!
Public faith in the 2011 vote is gone
Judicial inquiry needed
Fraud a serious attack on parliamentary democracy
Governor-general would be justified in forcing new federal election
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's long-sought majority government rests upon 11 seats.
The key to his narrow 2011 victory was Ontario, where the Conservative Party finally breached a Liberal stronghold.
It was in crucial Ontario swing ridings where Conservatives won, often by razor-thin margins, that the government's majority was decided.
And, it was in Ontario that evidence first surfaced of an apparently well-organized campaign of telephone calls which purported to be from Elections Canada and which told Liberal voters that their polling stations had been relocated and which directed them to bogus voting sites.
It was also in Ontario that evidence first emerged of Liberal supporters reporting bizarre, irritating and rudely aggressive telephone calls late at night and, in the case of some, on their holy days, which purported to be from their own party organizers.
A quick survey of ridings in Ontario, the vital key to the government's slim hold on power, shows that Conservatives won eight seats by a margin of less than 1,000 votes, three by less than 300 votes.
In Nipissing-Timiskaming, the difference between a Conservative victory and a Liberal defeat was 18 votes. In Etobicoke Centre, the difference was 26 votes. In Pickering-Scarborough East, it was 207 votes.
For the Conservative party to win these seats, a mere 251 voters who might have cast ballots for Liberal candidates - or 0.17 per cent of all those who voted in those three ridings - had to be dissuaded from casting those ballots.
It seems that attempts to confuse, misdirect and frustrate voters may have been national in scope. Complaints of similar phone calls now arise in 34 ridings, including Manitoba and British Columbia.
In 16 ridings across Canada, Conservative wins in 2011 were decided by less than 1,000 votes. The total margin of victory across these ridings amounted to a scant 8,047 votes. So, only 0.0331 per cent of Canadians registered to vote in the 2011 election had to be persuaded not to cast a ballot in particular ridings to affect the outcome of the election.
On this basis alone, the expanding scandal over vote suppression threatens to call into question the moral legitimacy of the government.
In the sponsorship scandal, the venal but commonplace sin was misappropriating taxpayers' money. A judicial inquiry was called by prime minister Paul Martin.
But an organized attempt to deliberately suppress citizens' most important democratic right, the unfettered right to an unencumbered vote on honest terms, would comprise a far greater and, for Canada, unprecedented sin.
Like it or not, this Elections Canada investigation now raises the ugly possibility of an election decided not by voters but by shadowy backroom tacticians who sought to rig the outcome by frustrating citizens' constitutionally guaranteed right to vote for the candidate of their choice without coercion.
Harper says the Conservative party knows nothing about this. Let's by all means take him at his word.
But when he challenges the opposition to prove any connection, let's dismiss that as disingenuous. It's Parliament's duty to now get to the bottom of this in a public and transparent way and that includes the government as well as the opposition.
The ethical and moral ramifications of what appears to have happened can't be overstated.
Any attempt to defraud any Canadian of his or her vote in an election that decides who will govern the country would comprise an assault upon the constitutional rights of every Canadian. It would represent an attempt to corrupt the fundamental principle of democracy itself, which holds that every vote is valuable and no vote is less valuable than another. Attempts to discourage voting or to disrupt the process represent an attack upon the very concept of Canada as a parliamentary democracy.
For a government elected by 40 per cent of voters, the possibility that it obtained power, knowingly or not, on the basis of some as-yet-unknown group's strategic attempts to suppress the turnout in key ridings can only bring into disrepute the integrity of the electoral process.
Frankly, the very existence and scope of the Elections Canada investigation is now sufficient to undermine public faith in the election results. To say this is shocking is an understatement. We now need a full, transparent and non-partisan judicial inquiry that goes beyond the current investigation into possible Elections Act transgressions.
If there's any attempt to prevent this, to trivialize it, to stonewall it, to deflect attention from it, then the governor-general should be pressed by the citizens of Canada to exercise his constitutional power to dissolve the government and send it back to the voters to obtain a clear and a legitimate mandate.
Public faith in the 2011 vote is gone (external - login to view)