Federal court finds fraud in six ridings in last election, Election results to stand despite “concerted campaign” to suppress vote

Head of Elections Canada confirms witnesses not co-operating in robocalls case by Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press, May 28, 2013, Calgary Herald
“Good rules are of little use if they cannot be enforced.”

Last week’s Federal Court ruling sharply criticized Conservative party legal delays and obstructions….

However under questioning from NDP MP Craig Scott, Mayrand confirmed media reports that the Conservative party’s lawyer took three months to respond to robocalls inquiries from Elections Canada after the 2011 election campaign — an investigation that is still ongoing.

“Again if we go back to this issue of justice delayed, justice denied, well, that’s where it starts, among other things.”

Fraud found in robocalls case; Supreme Court appeal being considered Press Release by Council of Canadians, May 23, 2013

Federal judge confirms election fraud in 2011 vote by Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor, May 23, 2013, canada.com
Electoral fraud occurred during the last federal election, a federal court judge ruled on Thursday, but there is no proof that it affected the outcomes in six ridings at issue, so the elections will not be overturned. The court challenge was brought by the Council of Canadians, which sought to overturn the election of six Conservative MPs who won close ridings where there was evidence that someone tried to affect the results by calling opposition supporters and telling them their polling stations had moved. Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley ruled that the calls “struck at the integrity of the electoral process by attempting to dissuade voters from casting ballots for their preferred candidates. This form of ‘voter suppression,’ was, until the 41st General Election, largely unknown in this country.” The evidence points to “a concerted campaign by persons who had access to a database of voter information maintained by a political party,” Mosley writes, but says there was no allegation that any of the candidates in the six ridings were responsible for the campaign. “I find that electoral fraud occurred during the 41st General Election but I am not satisfied that it has been established that the fraud affected the outcomes in the subject ridings and I decline to exercise my discretion to annul the results in those districts.”

The decision fails to give the Council of Canadians the result it sought, but may pose a political problem for the Conservatives, who have steadfastly rejected any suggestion that the party mounted a voter suppression campaign beyond the infamous “Pierre Poutine” robocall in Guelph, Ont., which the party has blamed on rogue elements. Mosley does not conclude that the party was involved, but does say the evidence points to the use of the party’s database. “In reaching this conclusion, I make no finding that the Conservative Party of Canada or any CPC candidates or RMG and RackNine Inc., were directly involved in any campaign to mislead voters,” he ruled. “I am satisfied, however, that the most likely source of the information used to make the misleading calls was the CIMS database maintained and controlled by the CPC, accessed for that purpose by a person or persons currently unknown to this court.”

We would, of course, liked to have the individual ridings overturned, but I think the much more important point is the finding of fraud Maude Barlow, national chair of the Council of Canadians, said the decision “should disturb Canadians a lot.” … The finding of fraud, she said, is stated “clearly and boldly.” … She said it would be up to the applicants in the six cases whether to launch an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada after  Mosley’s decision. Barlow said her organization has already spent “hundreds of thousands” on the court case, much of it from money raised through an online fundraising campaign. Their legal fees were increased, Barlow said, by the repeated attempts by the Conservative MPs to derail the legal proceedings through a series of motions to dismiss the case. The judge had harsh words for the tactics the Conservatives used in fighting the case. The Conservative party’s lawyer, Arthur Hamilton, sought to have the case thrown out several times, relying on an argument that the council was engaged in “champerty and maintenance,” an ancient legal principle that prevents vexatious lawsuits by people who have no legitimate interest in a case. Mosley ruled that “there is no evidence that the applicants acted for any reason other than to assert their rights to a fair election as Canadian citizens and electors.”

Mosley had harsh words for the legal tactics employed by the Conservatives during the case, saying they indulged in “trench warfare in an effort to prevent this case from coming to a hearing on the merits” while the council sought “the high ground of promoting the integrity of the electoral process.” The judge pointed out that the Conservatives “made little effort to assist with the investigation despite early requests,” and noted that Hamilton was notified during the election that improper calls were being made. Mosley rejected repeated Conservative personal attacks on pollster Frank Graves, stating that they “added nothing of value to the record before the court.” [Emphasis added]

Federal court finds fraud in six ridings in last election, Election results to stand despite “concerted campaign” to suppress vote by Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher, May 23, 2013, Ottawa Citizen

This entry was posted in Other Legal. Bookmark the permalink.