A class-action lawsuit would offer insights into the Conservative robocall scandal

Today, Liberal Leader Bob Rae called on any Conservative official, including the prime minister, to come forward with information they have about the robocall scandal.

Poll

Do you trust the RCMP to get to the bottom of the Conservative robocall scandal?

Yes 10%
53 votes
No 79%
416 votes
Not sure 11%
59 votes

Prior to the last election, taped telephone messages were sent to an untold number of homes in a bunch of ridings telling people that their polling-station locations had been changed.

The caller falsely claimed to be from Elections Canada.

Rae likened the dirty trick to "stuffing the ballot box" on behalf of the Conservative party.

The Ottawa Citizen has revealed that Elections Canada traced the deceptive messages to an Edmonton web-hosting company called RackNine.

The first political casualty of the scandal is Michael Sona, who worked for Conservative candidate Marty Burke in Guelph, where some of the calls were sent. Sona resigned yesterday as an aide to Conservative MP Eve Adams. (Adams happens to be dating Dmitri Soudas, former communications director to Stephen Harper.)

The Conservatives have gone into attack mode, with one of its MPs, Dean Del Mastro, issuing a statement complaining of "harassing and misleading phone calls during the 2011 federal campaign" against his campaign in Peterborough.

"The Conservative Party is calling on anyone with any information about harassing calls or calls giving inaccurate poll information to come clean immediately and hand it over to Elections Canada," the Conservative statement declared.

Meanwhile, the Liberals have identified 27 ridings where they allege Conservatives tried to suppress voter turnout with the robocall tactic.

The constitutional issue

The robocall controversy has raised an interesting legal issue. Could people who received calls directing them to the wrong polling station sue the Conservative party and any officials linked to the scandal?

Under Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, "every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of the members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein."

If someone phones you and sends you to a nonexistent polling station and you can't vote, then that person has deprived you of your constitutional rights.

There's a distinct possibility that many thousands of Canadians suffered this fate in the last federal election.

Maybe the time has come to call in a good lawyer and file a class-action suit.

This lawyer could subpoena witnesses, demand documents, and possibly force the defendants to pay damages to all those voters whose rights were trampled on.

The best part of all is that the Canadian public might not have to wait years for the RCMP to get to the bottom of this affair when that same RCMP is dependent on the Harper government for its funding.


Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.

Comments (21) Add New Comment
Harper, the pm no one can trust
I can't see the pm lasting to long as he shows his true colours after the election. It isn't just about 15 riding it is the outright vulgarity and criminal undertaking that helped the PM become the most detested prime minister Canada has had the misfortune of having run are country into a fascist state. Harper picks a 3 time fraudster to help with his dirty tricks and government doesn't have the heart to give the dirt bag any jail time so instead them let him in on Canada's secrets.
Would you have voted for the Conservatives knowing the party rigged the election in able to get its majority?
All that bullshit news we all had to listen to about the great Harper man.
Iggy took a beating right from the start as honest men make for easy targets from bullies with no ethics or heart.
The Conservatives are dead to Canadians and have no chance of winning another election and have a good chance of being taken down for the count as Harper has made a lot of enemies out of voters for a start.
1
1
Rating: 0
GOT
Voters in the ridings in which these kinds of calls were experienced should immediately demand a recall of their MP's and hold by-elections. They have no reason to believe that their 'elected' MP was actually elected fairly, or legally. At least ten ridings have been identified so far, which suggests that the calls were part of a widespread plan by somebody, or somebodies, to interfere with the election process. Regardless of the by-election results, if they occur, any persons involved in this in the first place should go to prison. This kind of electoral fraud has no place in Canada and must be severely dealt with. Immediately. No debates, no committee hearings, no more bullshit. MP recall and by-elections now.
2
1
Rating: +1
Katie lau
Any political party cheating in elections and taking over our government illegally should never be allowed access to our tax dollars to spend on their pet projects, many staying in power, abusing that power and then changing our laws to suit their crimes. Out damn Harper out!
3
1
Rating: +2
GOT
just as a matter of interest...why are we seeing Bob Rae's face all over this? The Official Opposition is the NDP...hello? anybody awake over there in the NDP caucus? Or does Bob still speak for you? Hello? Anybody? Jack? Are you spinning in your grave? I sure as hell would be if I were you!
1
1
Rating: 0
Charlie Smith
Dear Got,
On February 23, NDP MPs Charlie Angus and Alexandre Boulerice wrote to Elections Canada asking for a full investigation following the initial report in the Ottawa Citizen.

http://www.ndp.ca/press/rcmp-elections-commish-must-find-charge-those-re...

Charlie Smith
3
0
Rating: +3
DJBALL
Scandal after scandal and we haven't even come close to scratching the surface.
Surely this makes the election results null and void
1
2
Rating: -1
Pat
In the last election, for the first time ever, my polling station in the Vancouver Centre (Liberal) riding was several kilometres from my residence.

We walked and it took us over 30 minutes each way.

Seniors in my neighbourhood found it hard to get there, and some I know just didn’t bother going.

I talked to volunteers at the polling station about the reduction of the number of polling stations and how far many people had to travel to get to there, and it didn’t make sense to them either.

At the time, people were joking about how it could have been a plan to reduce voter turnout in a traditionally non-Conservative riding ... and now I'm starting to think that might be true.
2
0
Rating: +2
out at night
No one's going to redraw the political map, no Tories are going to have to give up their seats, no ridings will be recontested anytime soon. Even if the cops find a whole roomful of smoking guns!

Nope, they knew what they were doing: pull any dirty trick, as long as it gets you elected, then you've got your majority and 5 years to put through all the pipelines, spy bills and asorted evil deeds on your To-do list. If the electoral misdeeds are uncovered, oh well, better to ask forgiveness than permission, right? Didn't we see this in a couple US elections when ol' Georgie Boy Jr. got in with outright election fraud in Florida (2000) and Ohio (2004)?
3
1
Rating: +2
Terry Wiens
Sign me up!
1
2
Rating: -1
Ben
I wouldn't have been dumb enough to vote Harper in the first place, thank God. Now, let's get rid of this scumbag!
1
0
Rating: +1
karl rove
I remember reading articles on how after 2008 Harper hired all the out of work US republican strategists and imported their dirty politics into Canada. They did these same fraudulent robocalls and live center callsl all throughout US elections and still do.

I sincerely hope this finishes off the conservative clowns before they can destroy Canada anymore. Loss of the wheat board opens up corporate farming in Canada, which means widespread pesticide use and questionable genetic products. I don't look forward to eating local poison food.

Opposition feds get your act together and do whatever it takes to kick out these criminals
1
0
Rating: +1
GOT
@Charlie Smith..."On February 23, NDP MPs Charlie Angus and Alexandre Boulerice wrote to Elections Canada asking for a full investigation following the initial report in the Ottawa Citizen."
Thanks, Charlie - I am aware of this letter from two NDP MP's (just two?). My point is that in the last 24 hours or so we've seen Bob Rae's face on the front of just about every major newspaper in Canada as spokesperson for the aggrieved Canadian voter. I understand he's speaking also on behalf of Liberals who might have lost their seats to fraudulent electoral practices by the Conservatives - but it seems to me that the voice of the Official Opposition is very quiet - compared to Bob's. If the NDP expect to maintain and build upon their success in the last election, they need to be seen to be acting loudly and decisively, in public, on this matter. A letter to the Commissioner of Elections Canada from two MP's is a pretty minimal effort.

And let's stop using the term 'dirty tricks' regarding actions that interfered with voting; this is electoral fraud on a grand scale, not some schoolboy prank. I fully support a class action lawsuit by Canadian voters against the 'Harper Government', the sooner the better.
1
1
Rating: 0
cosmicsync
out at night, you can look closer to home for an example of cheating to win without consequences: Kash Heed was allowed to keep his seat after admitting to violating the Elections Act by overspending his limit. The message from that is if you sit for the ruling party, the Act is more of a guideline.

The citizenry itself must act to redress these abuses of the system we use to elect our government. The checks and balances that are supposed to perform that task don't seem to be working any more.

Charlie's idea sounds worth a try. How about it, David Eby? Want to take up the cause?
2
0
Rating: +2
balwinder singh brar
RCMp is an extension of the government and acts more like a statre police.
2
1
Rating: +1
Dean Delmaestro
You stand with the government or you stand with the Taliban.
You stand with the government or you stand with the child pornographers
You stand with the government or you stand with democracy

We are consistent and clear.
1
1
Rating: 0
2nd Nation
Here are some thoughts:
1. Harper has continued to do well (or well enough) despite years of stomach-churning politics;
2. The Cons have played the politics like a game and they've done it well (i.e. play to win);
3. the Libs haven't been able to get on their feet in all this time (Paul Martin, Dion, Ignatieff);
4. the NDP are at a crossroads and it's unlikely they'd have as many seats as they have had the BQ not collapsed in the last election (look to 2011 to be the record high for the NDP for the foreseeable future)

So what?

Well, if the goal is to lead (i.e. get to make the big decisions) then one must be in power to do so. To do this the opposition will not win by more of the same (i.e. keep raising the gods-awful examples of Con mismanagement). They'll need to win. I suggest one or more the following:

A. unite the centre-left, and/or
B. cooperate to not run candidates in many ridings (not all but many)

That's it. Cause they've tried about everything else.
1
1
Rating: 0
GOT
@ 2nd Nation..."2. The Cons have played the politics like a game and they've done it well (i.e. play to win);"

If you have to cheat to win, it's not a game. It's just cheating. And yes, the Cons do it well...have to agree with that.
1
1
Rating: 0
Pierre Povencher
You've already convicted the Conservatives here. I don't find you fair at all. If we really look at who's benefitting from what's happening right now, It sure wouldn't be the CPC. So what would have been their motive? Most of the complaints come from places where nobody with the IQ higher than a chipmunk could believe they could have influenced. So, the possibility of this being a NON CPC plot is quite real. I personally are not following the sheep on this one, although I would certainly demand that we get to the bottom of this.
1
1
Rating: 0
Douglas
I fully agree!

From day one I have been wondering whether a class action suit against the Conservative Party of Canada itself is possible because of this.

Does anyone know the actual answer?
2
1
Rating: +1
SW
Civil courts would be easier, but it really looks like a criminal case, and so a case for the police.
1
0
Rating: +1

Pages

Add new comment
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.