The smartest money Marc Mayrand ever spent

So here’s the conspiracy theory.

Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand surely knows that the Harper government —  and its majority in the House of Commons — has a dim view of his impartiality. Whether that view is deserved or not is not the issue: The fact is Conservatives believe Mayrand has improperly interpreted and unfairly applied Canada’s election laws. And Mayrand or anyone at Elections Canada would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to know this.

And now, here comes that same government with a request last fall for his suggestions on how elections law ought to be changed.

Mayrand certainly knows that there would be a good chance that this government will not heed his recommendations and, in fact, may even try to diminish the power of his office. If that happens, his only recourse will be the court of public opinion. Continue reading The smartest money Marc Mayrand ever spent

As Trudeau visits, Liberal riding association de-registered

A bunch of federal riding associations — mostly Green Party electoral district associations — were de-registered by Elections Canada over the last week, all for failing to live up to one provision or another of the Canada Elections Act.

The only Liberal EDA to be de-registered in the latest batch of de-registrations: The Central Nova Federal Liberal Association, in the riding currently held by Conservative Peter MacKay. The notice from Elections Canada that the Central Nova Liberal EDA will be de-registered as of Sept. 30 comes in the same week  that party leader Justin Trudeau was in the riding drawing (as usual) huge and enthusiastic crowds.

Continue reading As Trudeau visits, Liberal riding association de-registered

Globe and Mail's top politics writer on "grassy-knoll types" in Parliamentary Press Gallery

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Glen McGregor and Postmedia’s Stephen Maher have spent a great deal of time digging away at what in Ottawa is called the “robocall” story, a story that reports on incidents of the use of automated telephone calls during the 2011 election. McGregor and Maher’s reporting has won them acclaim from their peers in the form of many awards mostly (I believe anyway) for the creativity and doggedness in which they’ve tried to sort out what is a complicated story about what will turn out to be either a marginal event in the 2011 election or an epic event in the 2011 election.

Elections Canada is investigating many of the allegations of potential skulduggery that McGregor and Maher report on and, nearly two years after the election, Elections Canada appears set to recommend the laying of some sort of charge. (We know that because McGregor and Maher reported it.)

And, today, partly as a result of their work, Elections Canada is recommending Parliament introduce some new laws that Elections Canada says will help prevent any future problems. The Harper government says it will review the recommendations but might — or might not — have its own ideas about this issue.

Now, I mentioned up top that the Robocall affair will either be marginal or epic — largely depending on what investigators come up with and can prove in court. The Council of Canadians believe this to be epic, arguing in court that there was a massive conspiracy organized by the Conservative Party of Canada to use robocalls to suppress the votes of non-Conservatives and, in doing so, win ridings it otherwise would not.

A new book says McGregor and Maher, columnist Michael Harris and others in the Parliamentary Press Gallery are “grassy-knoll types” for buying into this meme, most loudly advanced by the Council of Canadians, that runs though the Robocall reporting that somehow the majority government of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives is illegitimate. Continue reading Globe and Mail's top politics writer on "grassy-knoll types" in Parliamentary Press Gallery

Newfoundland first to re-draw its electoral map

All across the country, panels of eminent persons are looking at ways to re-draw the electoral map to take into account our growing population.

The group in Newfoundland and Labrador are the first to publish proposed new boundaries. At least three ridings look to get what seems to me a radical makeover.

Continue reading Newfoundland first to re-draw its electoral map

MP Maurice Vellacott's theory on robocalls: Could be EC's fault!

Just in from Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott:

March 5, 2012

On the issue of robocalls, as an example, in the 2008 election, my MP and campaign office, had constituents [in Saskatoon-Wanuskewin] phone us from Corman Park north of Saskatoon toward the river, who in systemic fashion, received Elections Canada voter identification cards telling them to vote on the other side of the river in Aberdeen. Not only is that an unreasonably long way to have voters go to cast a ballot, but it’s not even in our Saskatoon-Wanuskewin constituency. Continue reading MP Maurice Vellacott's theory on robocalls: Could be EC's fault!

MPs Del Mastro and Bennett on robocalls; Solberg and Kinsella on that and Vikileaks

Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett and Conservative MP Dean del Mastro have this much in common at least: They both say that supporters in their ridings were hit with annoying, abusive, and possibly illegal telephone canvassing during last spring’s election. But that’s about all they have in common … Continue reading MPs Del Mastro and Bennett on robocalls; Solberg and Kinsella on that and Vikileaks

More "reprehensible" tactics from the Conservatives?

[There is an important update at the bottom of this post]

A few weeks ago, Andrew Scheer, the Speaker of the House of Commons who, it happens, is also a Conservative MP, ruled on a point of privilege raised by Liberal MP Irwin Cotler. Cotler had been upset that the Conservative Party of Canada, in a telephone-based voter-identification drive, was, in his view, spreading the rumour in his riding that he was either retired or about to retire. While Scheer found that Cotler’s privilege had not been breached, Scheer scolded his own party, saying (my emphasis): “I am sure that all reasonable people would agree that attempting to sow confusion in the minds of voters as to whether or not their Member is about to resign is a reprehensible tactic.”

Speaker Scheer went on to say he was sympathetic to Cotler and almost sorry that he could not find the parliamentary jurisprudence to find in favour of Cotler, saying, “I can understand how [Cotler] and others are seeking relief from the climate of cynicism – not to say contempt – about parliamentary institutions and practice that seems to prevail.”

Well, if the Conservative Party of Canada engaged in “a reprehensible tactic” by “attempting to sow confusion in the minds of voters” when it comes to an MP’s employment status,  I wonder what Speaker Scheer will say about this, Continue reading More "reprehensible" tactics from the Conservatives?