It’s becoming increasingly clear that the attempt to suppress the Liberal/NDP vote through deceptive and/or harassing phone calls in the last Federal election was not isolated. The Sixth Estate is building a list of affected ridings and the number is up to 42. RossK mines the comment threads of his past posts to remind us that in the immediate aftermath of the election there were already questions being raised about strange phones calls and the adoption of voter suppression tactics used by the Republicans in the United States.
My 2 cents:
1. It’s easier to suppress the vote in the United States than Canada for the simple reason there is no equivalent to Elections Canada down south. Each county is in charge of running the vote in U.S. Federal Elections. There is no national body to connect the dots of systematic fraud. With that in mind I really wonder what they were thinking and how they thought they’d get away with it.
2. It may ultimately be unknowable1 if the results of the 2011 Federal Election actually were affected to a significant result-changing degree. But that doesn’t play to the Conservatives’ advantage – there is no way to definitively prove they weren’t either. Even if they do the right thing and conduct a thorough investigation that leads to hard jail time for the responsible, and even if it is shown this was a “rogue” operation (and that is very much in question)….there is now a permanent taint on the legitimacy of the Conservative majority government. Only a new, closely monitored election can restore legitimacy and they sure as hell aren’t going to call an early one because they’ll lose.
It’s a cancer. They will not be able to enact the big-ticket items on their agenda. Everything will be questioned.
The Harper Government™ is now a very lame duck.
The malaise from the Sponsorship Scandal still affects the Liberal Party of Canada. This – which all signs point to being the biggest, darkest political scandal in Canada’s history – will destroy the Conservatives.
1Although on The Sixth Estate’s list of ridings reporting problems, I count 12 that were close enough that misdirection efforts could have changed the result.
UPDATE 2: Chantal Hébert asks a good question – Given safe Tory ridings were apparently hit too where’s the underlying strategy?
A Machiavellian mastermind could always have orchestrated fraudulent calls to a host of ridings where such tricks were unlikely to affect the outcome for or against the Conservatives just to throw anyone off the scent of an orchestrated pattern. But that sounds like a high-risk investment for a relatively low yield.
Really? It seems like it would be a “must-do”. Not only does it muddy the waters but it insulates you with your own supporters.