Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Government Should Recall All Elections Canada Representatives Working Abroad

It's days like these that make me question the supposed strategic "brilliance" of the Harper Conservatives. It was really pretty simple when you think about, but once again the Conservatives have amplified the damage. The Bloc introduces their motion, expressing confidence in Elections Canada. The easy response for the Conservatives, simply abstain, send a message, without having the government declare no confidence in a national institution, the bedrock of our democracy, an organization that we proudly parade around the world to ensure fairness. You abstain, you just do, you're the government! Everybody would understand, the debate moves on, no harm, no foul- we have a "disagreement with Elections Canada", but we still have confidence in the organization.

You can't be melodramatic here, what the government has done is effectively undermine the credibility of Elections Canada. That vote has implications, that vote tells Canadians that the government doesn't believe we should put any faith in the organization that cradles our democracy. How can the government allow Elections Canada to work abroad, in Haiti, in Afghanistan, the Ukraine, part of many multi-lateral initiatives, with the sole purpose of exporting our expertise, laying democratic foundations based on principle? The government has expressed non confidence in Elections Canada, as a result all their representatives should be recalled home, until we solve this crisis. If the government voted against the Department of National Defence and Hillier, what message does that send to the Afghans, is that not an admission of failure?

The government of Canada, think about this for one second, is so consumed with it's own narrow self-interest, that it tells Canadians it has no faith in an institution which will oversee the next election. Ignatieff is not over-stating here:
Deputy Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said the Conservative decision to vote against the motion was "shameful" and "dangerous."

"I find it unbelievable that a governing party in Canada would refuse to support a motion expressing confidence in the institution that keeps our country's elections fair. I just find it unbelievable."

Unbelievable and dangerous indeed. What is the greater good for the Conservative Party of Canada at a given moment, not what is the greater good for the country, for our pillars of democracy.

On the political front, today's boneheaded decision to vote against the motion and not abstain represents the latest installment of the Tory self-inflicted wound routine. After watching how the Conservatives have mishandled EVERY SINGLE development in this squabble with Elections Canada, managed to pour gasoline consistently, I have to say, I don't fear these keystone cops in the least. Today's move is the latest rank amateur decision, demonstrating a mind boggling tunnel vision, that just can't seem to understand the idea of consequence, can't seem to operate with any foresight. No wonder these people need message control, when forced to freelance they are nothing more than incompetent BOOBS.

Dangerous and dumb, quite a combination.


Anonymous said...

Yet despite all of these scandals and idiotic moves and despite poll after poll showing the Tories on the ropes, by all accounts the Liberals are still planning to prop up the Tories for the rest of the spring session meaning no election until Fall at the earliest.

If not NOW? When???

Why give Harper another six months to recover from all this? Does anyone really think that Dion is going to make some sudden improvement over the summer???

The Mound of Sound said...

I think it's time to hoof the buggers!

MarkCh said...

Even worse, what if the Conservatives actually win their lawsuit? Then this vote will be vindicated, Elections Canada will be shown to have been biased, and things will generally be bad for the Liberals. The stakes in this game are getting awfully high.

knb said...

markch...if you've been following this, there seems to be only a hope in hell that the Con's will win this fight.

anon, it all depends who is paying attention I guess.

Mound...yea I tend to agree but their strategy has paid off so far.

knb said...

Steve, here's a surprise! We agree and wrote about the same thing.

Where did the Ignatieff quote come from? I haven't read the latest news.

Gayle said...

mark - please explain how the CPC winning the lawsuit means EC is biased?

As Poilievre proved yesterday, all the CPC has done here is exploited a loophole to circumvent legislation that was to create an even playing field for all parties. By using htis loophole the CPC destroyed the level playing field to their own advantage. Not only that, they also used it to claim 700 thousand tax dollars for their party.

So yes, the CPC MAY win this lawsuit, but it does not mean they did not try to circumvent the intention of the legislation, taking hundreds of thousands of tax dollars in the process.

Please explain how withholding our tax dollars from the party on a question of legal interpretation equates to bias. Try not to use Janke's tired arguments because they are wrong.

Tomm said...


Good discussion.

Mark is, of course, correct. The LPC must strike while the iron is hot.

There is a very good chance of the CPC winning their lawsuit. If that happens, they will both be vindicated (sorry Gayle, you're just plain wrong here), and they will go and clean house over at EC with a 12 guage. They will also probably add a new bill with a few more campaign financing wrinkles that will punish the LPC for their vicious attacks on the government.

The LPC has the planets lining up better than they could have ever hoped and one thousand times better than they have planned. If they don't pull the pin now, its October 09, because next September will be a new day.


Gayle said...

Statements are meaningless if you cannot support them Tomm.

Tell me why I am wrong. Just answer the question I posed to mark.

knb said...

Tomm There is a very good chance of the CPC winning their lawsuit.

Based on freaking what? There is a very good chance they will lose and even if they win...it has NOTHING to do with the investigation.

What is it with you guys that you cannot see the separation between the two causes?

Had the question in the House only centred around the civil case, you'd still be wrong but could perhaps push the point.

The motion dealt more with the over spending nationally. Hello! That is why you are being investgated and that is what the Con's dare not speak of.

liberazzi said...

Anon #1:

You might be right, Paul Wells noted that a source is saying that the nervous nellies are winning again.

Tomm said...

KNB & Gayle,

The CPC lawsuit contends that what they did was within the EC rules.

Guess what, it was. Your allowed to give money to the local and also allowed to take money from the local for pooled use.

Why WOULDN'T they win their lawsuit?

In regards to some countersuit by EC or criminal code violations, I don't have any knowledge. If they knowingly altered invoices to defraud the Canadian taxpayer, that sounds like Criminal Code stuff and the government is done.

When is all this up on the docket?

In regards to their winning the lawsuit and the public still thinking the worse of them. That is truly ugly. That would pretty much convince me that "spin" has won and the media can do it with smoke, mirrors and a little partisan push.

If they are found innocent, that is, Elections Canada has to allow their tax deductions, than Elections Canada comes off as some uber-partisan organ. Remember that the CPC wasn't the only party doing the old "in-out". They were just doing it with the most gusto.

In regards to overspending, I can't comment beyond that it was 5%over the limit (19M instead of 18M). Make a bar graph of what the LPC spent (17M), the limit, and what the CPC spent and tell me this is some horrible election stealing tactic and watch while thinking people walk away in mid-sentence and the rest of the public yawns.


Scott Tribe said...

More Con Kool-Aid from Tomm. How utterly predictable.

You're going to lose both cases, Tomm. The Federal Court already threw out all your examples of other parties doing it as irrelevant and not the same.. you guys don't have leg to stand on.

But by all means, carry on with your Harperbot impression. It's admirable, and even amusing.

Steve V said...

"Steve, here's a surprise! We agree and wrote about the same thing."

Law of averages I guess :)


"The LPC has the planets lining up better than they could have ever hoped and one thousand times better than they have planned. If they don't pull the pin now, its October 09, because next September will be a new day."

We couldn't agree more.

On the graph and 5%, that's just a way to hide the true impact. This was targeted money, many of the vote margins were quite close. Look at it this way, you have two full glasses of water, all it takes is a few more drops to put one over the edge, spill over. That minor edge in many ways puts you over the top, it isn't inconsequential.

Tomm said...


So you are saying that the CPC will lose.

I haven't been around this issue as much as you.

If they do lose, then whenever that happens, provides another opportunity for an LPC election call. Until that happens, right now is the best window the LPC has had.

However, my reading of Andrew Coyne's column would tell me that the CPC could very well win their case.

Tomm said...


regarding the 5% overspending, I see your point, I'm just not sure I buy it.

Martin was self destructing, annother million dollars in TV ads doesn't necessarily deliver even one extra vote.

Now $50/voter in some close ridings...

Steve V said...


The thing is, and this really is the only point, cheating tends to give one an advantage. That's why they call it cheating, the don't call it "who cares".

Gayle said...


You are definately showing you do not understand what you are talking about.

I am not saying the CPC will lose. I am saying that losing does not mean they are biased.

You see, if they win it will be on a technicality. There is no question their tactics went against the nature and intent of the legislation. This is what Poilievre proved yesterday by trotting out an old example where, you guessed it, candidates exploited a loophole in the legislation in order to get around its intent.

Only this time it is worse because it is more than simple advertising. There is that small matter of the hundreds of thousands of tax dollars the CPC are claiming.

And this:

"Your allowed to give money to the local and also allowed to take money from the local for pooled use."

Individual candidates must pay for their own advertising, and it must actually be LOCAL advertising.

It may have escaped your notice, but the real issue is whether running national ads on TV amounts to local advertising just because tag lines are put on them.

Perhaps you should read the affidavit for the search warrant and educate yourself.

Your little graph example is amusing, but if you are suggesting the general public are not going to care if the CPC are convicted of cheating, and of attempting to steal tax dollars, simply because the actual percentage of money spent is not that high, then you do not have a very high opinion of Canadians' intelligence.

wilson said...

Dion can't take the chance of the criminal charges, against some higher up Liberals being laid, re: Adscam, during an election campaign.

No spring election.
The magnicent 7 will show up to vote against the budget and immigration bill. Both will pass.

Maybe Dion would like to borrow Harpers lucky hat and vest for the bbq circiut, where he can try to sell his carbon tax...

Anonymous said...

The Tories always need "an enemy" to froth at the mouth about. We're not buying it anymore.

Calgary Junkie said...

How much more do the planets have to align for you guys ?

Another abstention on the budget implementation bill, and you give even more ammunition for Layton to use against you guys in the election campaign.

The NDP and CPC campaigns almost write themselves, with Layton and Harper known campaigners, with lots of experience, having learned from previous mistakes.

I can hardly wait to watch the unknown, untested, inexperienced Dion in the spotlight over a 36 day election campaign.

Steve V said...

Untested, inexperienced? Where exactly have you been?