Conservative dirty tricks were a concern of mine during the last Federal Election. (See Are Conservatives Adopting Republican Dirty Tricks to Get Elected?) The matter has not gone away and has been the subject of an Elections Canada investigation. I recently sent an email to all parties expressing concern about the use of “robo-calls” misdirecting voters in the last Federal election in ridings where Stephen Harper’s Conservatives were facing close races. The source of these robo-calls was apparently a company that worked for the Conservative Party. Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada made the following response to my email.
We need answers and real consequences for Robo-Call election fraud
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