Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Breaking: Elections Canada Impartial

Reading the Globe and Mail article on email exchanges within Elections Canada, it would seem the story confirms that EC takes any hint of bias seriously. Is it really a "story" that officials were concerned about a possible leak to reporters and Liberals? I would be concerned if they weren't concerned. Given the nonsensical diversions of the Conservatives, would you expect anything less?:
The documents also show that Mr. Mayrand said an internal review by the agency found no indication of a leak.

In the days after the high-profile raid in Ottawa, the Tories charged that Elections Canada had ignored similar electoral ad spending transgressions by the opposition, and told the media and Liberals about the raid to maximize political damage.

"With regard to this allegation of [a] leak do you have any suggestion as to how we could kill it?" Mr. Mayrand asked in an e-mail dated April 18.

"If we can dispel this story [the leak], we will have only positive media coverage," replied Ms. Vézina, the associate deputy chief electoral officer in charge of political financing. "And the alternative is that we appear to be partisan or biased or vindictive and at the moment the media seem to believe we tipped off the CBC and the Liberals."

"Our internal review indicates no reasonable ground to believe there was a leak," he wrote. "This may be pure diversion tactic/competitive frustration from a media outlet vis-a-vis another. The central fact is that media were there more than two hours after the operation started."

Ms. Vézina replied, "Ok. But however we do it we need to kill it as it seems to be the one negative aspect haunting us and damaging our reputation. Even the disclosure of the affidavit won't eliminate the doubt about the so-called leak."

EC conducted an "internal review" and found no evidence of a leak. Don't we want EC to make sure all conduct is above board, to eliminate any hint of partisanship? EC didn't scoff at the Conservative allegations, they looked into the matter, which is what should happen, if one is trying to be fair. Also noteworthy, the media and Liberals showed up a full two hours after the raid, an eternity when you consider how fast news travels.

I was reading some of the commentary to this story, and it's being spun as evidence of a cover up. I see it as vindication, obviously EC would want to "kill" any notion of a bias, after all the foundation of the institution is it's apolitical mandate. If the media is reporting a "tip off", fueled by the Conservatives predictable method of dealing with a crisis, then I have no qualms with EC monitoring coverage and trying to find evidence of a leak. And, I would suspect if any evidence was found, that person would have been reprimanded.

I'm sure this "revelation" will be manipulated, but it seems to me all we have here is a respected institution taking its impartiality very seriously, worried about even the hint of bias. Good.


UPDATE

The companion post

10 comments:

Scott Tribe said...

The Glove and Mail's comments board has been a cesspool for Conservative commentators.. I wouldn't take anything there too seriously.

Steve V said...

I rarely read them, but the tone of the article itself suggests a "story" here, when really it reflects well on EC.

RuralSandi said...

Curious - is there room for a legal suit here - ah, like PP Polievre? He's made plenty of innuendos outside the HofC?

I don't know why, but I'd just love to see that little jerk get his comuppins.

tori said...

not trying to stir up a hornet's nest here, but didn't Goodale have an "internal investigation" re: the IT leak and concluded there was none? And was it not found out later that there was a leak?

And no, I'm not thrilled with "internal investigations" on either side of the politcal spectrum...

Steve V said...

"And no, I'm not thrilled with "internal investigations" on either side of the politcal spectrum..."

But, the assumption is, this body isn't on the political spectrum. I would add, this is an internal email, so you can assume the comments were frank, it isn't a press release.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! You ain't gonna convince the kool-aid-drinkers with an internal investigation or with a coupla emails. The ConConspiracy theorists are already claimin' the emails were deliberate pre-emptive moves designed to impart plausible deniability in the event of an investigation.

If we don't trust EC, we cannot have any faith in our democracy. We cannot be sure that EC doesn't engineer election results. I think EC's actions have been above reproach. When Harper attacks EC, he is attacking democracy by purposely weakening a necessary democratic agency.

When dealing with arm's length agencies and regulators, Harper has been consistent. He wants to weaken them or destroy them altogether.

JB

Ti-Guy said...

Even there were a leak, it's still doesn't mean much to the matters of substance, which, I'm sure Tori remembers (but would rather forget), is the allegation that the Conservatives broke election laws.

Frankly, I don't know what to make of the story in The Globe. As a piece of straight reporting, it hardly says anything at all.

But it sure keeps the paranoid CONS nattering away and implying everyone else is corrupt...except themselves, or course.

Steve V said...

"The ConConspiracy theorists are already claimin' the emails were deliberate pre-emptive moves designed to impart plausible deniability in the event of an investigation."

Maybe it's just projecting, since it's really the Cons that always seem to have an alterior motive.


"As a piece of straight reporting, it hardly says anything at all."

That's what I thought too.

tori said...

sorry steve, but internal investigations really mean nothing, regardless of political stripe or arm's length group.

it would take an exceptional organization to do an internal audit and have it be so unbiased in its assessment as to acknowledge mis-doings.

as for the con-kool-aid and all the other names...no. I would be just as non-plussed with my party of choice saying "we did an internal audit and we are good". bring me a third party assessment any day over that scenario.

Steve V said...

"sorry steve, but internal investigations really mean nothing, regardless of political stripe or arm's length group."

See, here is where you and I part. I actually believe EC is unbiased, and haven't bought in to the despicable diversion tactics of the Cons, trying to sully a internationally respected organization, just so they take the heat off themselves. You think we need an independent investigation, because you accept the smear. I DON'T.