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.
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.