Friday, June 14, 2013

Conservatives and Electoral Reform

Ever since 2006, the Conservatives have been squabbling with Elections Canada.  What precisely the problem the HarperCons have is something of a mystery to me.  Regardless, they seem to have ongoing and serious problems with the government agency that is responsible for overseeing elections in this country.

So, after seeing Del Mastro's crocodile tears over his 2008 campaign spending issues yesterday, I decided to do a little bit of historical analysis to see what that turns up.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, there is quite a list of issues with the Conservative campaigns starting in 2006.

In 2006, the big, smelly, issue was the "In-and-Out" scandal where the Conservatives essentially engaged in a money laundering scheme to hide advertising spending.  For the most part, Harper managed to shrug this bit of crooked chicanery off.  (apparently, electoral fraud didn't register on voters in 2008)  However, it should be noted that the issue is still before the courts.

The 2008 election was triggered by Harper, no doubt with the idea that he could garner a majority on the heels of a "successful" minority that had been in place since 2006.  Harper claimed that he called the election because parliament was deadlocked - of course he conveniently ignored the fact that it was deadlocked by the very tactics that he instituted.

To be honest, I'm actually a little surprised that issues from the 2008 election are still being wrangled over - in particular Del Mastro's campaign spending.  However, if Del Mastro paid for campaign activities out of his own pocket and tried to subvert the accountability side of the elections process in doing so, that would be very much in character.

Additionally, there was a very suspicious set of events in Toronto where a number of Liberal supporters found the brake lines on their cars cut.  While this was not specifically investigated by Elections Canada, it is a rather overt form of harassment of voters which I have often thought was a clumsy attempt at voter suppression.

Then in 2011, we have seen a plethora of MPs whose election spending reports have been questioned by Elections Canada.  Interestingly, it always seems to be Conservative MPs who are getting caught out overspending or violating other rules.  I actually would have expected a bunch of these types of reports to be surfacing regarding NDP MPs from Quebec - not out of a sense of corruption, but more out of inexperience.

Moving beyond that, we have the infamous Robocalls scandal, which remains an ongoing point of contention which I believe calls into question the validity of the government as it stands today.

The real issue, when you distill it down, is that the Conservatives have a culture of "The Rules Don't Apply To Us", and they keep getting called out on it.  It wouldn't be so bad if it was relatively minor overspending infractions, but when you combine it with voter suppression, it becomes an evil that must be excised from our political system.

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