Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: The Ghost of 2011 Haunts Us Still

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: The Ghost of 2011 Haunts Us Still

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: The ghost of 2011 haunts us still

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published Jan. 6:

The Manitoba government made it official this week and moved the provincial election date to April 19, 2016. The change in date was necessary to avoid an overlap with the federal election, now anticipated this fall.

Election 2015 will be held under the spectre of the federal election in 2011 and the assault on democracy because of a concerted campaign to suppress the vote in six ridings. These ridings all elected Conservative MPs.

Conservative aide Michael Sona was found guilty in August for participating in the robocall scheme, but only for the calls in the riding of Guelph. In December, Mr. Sona was released on bail pending an appeal of his conviction and sentence.

Meanwhile, Canadians still don't have a reasonable understanding of who else was involved and how far up the food chain of Conservative elites this might go, even though Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley found there was an organized campaign of voter suppression, and the information used to make the phone calls likely came from a Conservative database.

On the surface, Conservatives can claim they responded to concerns regarding these robocalls with the implementation of the Fair Elections Act. The act was touted as closing the door on electoral fraud. But many are understandably cynical. And for good reason.

While it does go after those attempting to vote with inadequate identification, it hardly goes far enough in ensuring political parties don't act in an underhanded manner at election time.

That's because chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand's request that the commissioner of elections be given the ability to compel testimony during investigations into suspected violations of election laws remains unaddressed. Mr. Mayrand told The Canadian Press in May: "I am still worried that the commissioner doesn't have the tools that he needs to do a full investigation in a timely manner. …

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