No 426 Posted by fw, March 4, 2012
I was one of tens of thousands of Canadians who answered leadnow.ca’s call to demand a full public inquiry into dirty tricks election practices by Harper’s Tories. I dutifully read, signed and sent the letter that went to Harper and other leaders of federal political parties. A copy of my email appears below.
I was not surprised to receive Elizabeth May’s immediate caring and thoughtful response, which I have found to be quite typical of her. In reading it, I felt I was being heard and understood.
Then there was Stephen Harper’s response – a two-sentence, impersonal, curt acknowledgment of receipt. It left me with an impression of the “can’t-be-bothered” low value that he personally places on the legitimate concerns of those Canadians whom he was elected to represent – not just the minority who voted for him — but of all Canadians.
Judge for yourself. Here are the emails: first Stephen Harper’s, second Elizabeth May’s, and third, my letter.
From: Prime Minister [email@example.com]
Subject: Office of the Prime Minister
Date Sent: Thu 01/03/2012
Please know that your e-mail message has been received in the Prime Minister’s Office and that your comments have been noted. Our office always welcomes hearing from correspondents and being made aware of their views.
Thank you for writing.
Subject: RE: We need answers and real consequences for Robo-Call election fraud
Date Sent: Sun 26/02/2012
Thank you for your email expressing concerns about the recent Elections Canada report. This report, describing the use of illegal “robo-calls” during last federal election, has traced these calls back to a company that worked for the Conservative Party.
This extremely worrisome development is an attack upon our cherished democratic institutions and demands an immediate response. There must be a complete investigation to determine those who are responsible. Individuals or organizations who have conducted such egregious actions need to face jail time. Additionally, financial rebates for those specific elections must be cancelled and returned to Elections Canada. (Political parties who obtain a certain percentage of the vote in a riding can receive up to 60% of their expenses refunded via Elections Canada, and 50% nationally. Combined, this amounts to tens of millions of dollars for the Conservative Party.) Only through such strong measures will we create a meaningful deterrent to these actions.
The Conservative government has made continuous efforts to target MPs and opposition parties with unscrupulous tactics as a strategy to gain more voter support. Like you, I believe this is a disturbing trend that is driving Canadians away from the political process, and have condemned this in the House of Commons on November 22nd:
For more information on my experience and thoughts on this issue, I urge you to read my book Losing Confidence: Power, Politics, and the Crisis in Canadian Democracy. In this book, I focus on the changes occurring in Canadian democracy such as the use of attack ads and muzzling of scientists.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me. You are exercising your democratic rights, and I am thankful that you’re doing so. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions or concerns, and I would encourage you to consult my MP website and peruse Vision Green, available online at http://elizabethmaymp.ca/vision-green.
Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Here is the leadnow.ca letter that I signed off on and sent to Stephen Harper with a cc to other party leaders as listed at the end of the email —
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Government of Canada
Dear Prime Minister Harper, Mr Corbett, Ms Turmel, Mr Rae, Ms. May and Mr. Plamondon,
I am gravely concerned by the Elections Canada report that has just traced illegal phone calls made during the 2011 federal election to a company that worked for the Conservative Party across the country.
The “robocalls” were apparently designed to stop non-Conservative voters from casting ballots in key ridings by falsely telling voters that the location of their polling stations had changed, causing them to go to the wrong location on election day.
This news casts doubt on the legitimacy of our Government. We need answers now, and real consequences for illegal behaviour that may have determined the outcome of our election.
I demand a full and independent public inquiry, backed by Elections Canada and the RCMP, to expose the facts about the robocall scandal and ensure that the penalty for this election fraud matches the consequences of the crime – including possible by-elections in the affected ridings.
We cannot allow individuals to be scapegoated for actions that benefit institutions. We need to lay the foundation for new laws to restore the integrity of Canadian elections.
cc: William H. Corbett
Commissioner of Canada Elections
257 Slater St.
cc: Elizabeth May
Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Green Party of Canada
cc: Nycole Turmel
Leader of the Official Opposition
New Democratic Party
cc: Bob Rae
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
Liberal Party of Canada
cc: Louis Plamondon