Defeated Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj claims fraud in his Toronto-area 26-vote defeat

Borys Wrzesnewskyj, a three-time Liberal MP who lost his Toronto-area seat in last spring’s election, is calling for a re-vote, claiming fraud contributed to his slim 26-vote defeat to Conservative Ted Opitz.

From the CBC:

Wrzesnewskyj’s lawyers claim 181 ballots are in dispute and should be thrown out. Aside from some voters voting twice, the former MP’s legal team says some voters did not properly prove their identity or were not vouched for properly when they showed up at the polling station with no identification.

Under a court order, Wrzesnewskyj’s lawyers were able to examine the ballots at 10 polling divisions, as well as poll books and electors’ lists at Elections Canada’s office in Ottawa.

The test to declare the election invalid, and trigger a byelection (after any appeals are exhausted), would be a finding that more than 26 ballots, the losing margin, should not have been counted.

Wrzenewskyj’s claims appear unrelated to the still-simmering Robocall scandal. And in many cases, according to the CBC, what he’s alleging is more poor training than deliberate malfeasance, much of it centred around a single polling station. In at least five instances, however, his team claims to have dug up evidence showing voters likely cast their ballots twice, which is a whole different kettle of fish. Wrzenewskyj will be in court April 23 to present his case.




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Defeated Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj claims fraud in his Toronto-area 26-vote defeat

  1. The Robocall scandal raised many an eyebrow amongst
    my friends and me.  We all understood
    that no matter what ideals and lofty goals one may espouse, there will always
    be someone ready to take advantage of any weakness found our democracy to
    advantage themselves or their collective.

     

    Canada’s ‘liberal democracy’ is a pluralistic
    representative democracy based on free and fair elections sending the MP of
    their choice to parliament to represent their locality and local views and
    preferences.

     

    Electoral fraud is
    illegal interference with the process of an election.  Acts of fraud
    affect vote counts to bring about an election result, whether by increasing the
    vote share of the favored candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival
    candidates, or both. Also called voter
    fraud, the mechanisms involved include illegal voter registration,
    intimidation at polls, and improper vote counting. In Mr. Warnica’s article and
    others we’ve read in the last two month’s allege that in Etobicoke Centre, all
    three activities have created a result that is highly questionable.

    Voter turnout had dropped from just under 80% in the
    early 1960’s to just over 60% in the last federal election, a drop of 25%.  It’s obvious that the electorate is
    disenchanted with the political parties of the day and their approach to
    politics.  The blame lies squarely on
    Elections Canada and the electoral process, Canadian political parties, the
    press and the electorate.

     

    Firstly, I fault Elections Canada. In Leslie
    MacKinnon’s CBC News article he quotes: “In an
    affidavit, the returning officer for Etobicoke Centre, Allan Sperling, says he
    could have benefited from “refresher training” about the rules. He
    says the last Elections Canada course he took was in 2007.” “One deputy
    returning officer, offered as a witness by Opitz, said that voter ID by
    vouching wasn’t covered in training.” This indicates a better training regimen
    is needed.  Eighty-six ‘out of polling
    division’ votes and 32 potential ‘double votes’ looks bad on Elections Canada
    and our electoral process and what can be said about Canadian Democracy.  

    It seems that since 2004, how the parties conducted their politics
    has become odorous to say the least. Zealots have assumed the right to tear
    opposing parties down at all costs. With the “in and out scandal,” it was
    deplorable that the guilty parties negotiated a “slap on the wrist” in exchange
    for a guilty plea.  This in my opinion
    was weak.  If the same weak response is
    doled out to those responsible for the “Robocall” fiasco then it’s open season
    on all acts of electoral misconduct. 
    Elections Canada needs a stronger set of teeth and the will to use them
    to preserve our principles of democracy. The rules governing the balloting
    system need updating.  As long as a
    voter’s preference is well indicated, all other extraneous marks should not be
    allowed to negate their vote.  Elections
    Canada should be reporting to Canadians first and then parliament.

     

    Secondly, political parties need to clean up their act.  Today’s party politics seems to be based on
    fear politics and the hate-mongering of other parties and their leadership –
    negative politics rather than on a sound platform and positive electoral choice. A party’s candidates
    should be elected only on the basis of their platform.  What do you represent and how will your
    politics improve the lot of Canadians, Canadian society, our economy and our
    environment.  A cute smirk and calling
    the other guy a jerk doesn’t cut it anymore. 
    If this is the vehicle parties choose, then we need to rethink party
    politics and look towards Australia for change and improvement.

     

    Thirdly, I turn my attention to the press. In Canada, we
    enjoy freedom of the press, a press without external censorship.  The public desires the broadest discussion of
    all aspects of the news and especially political news.  I can’t help but feel that there seems to be
    an internal censorship within the press – a press that decides what they feel
    the public needs to hear and what is financially newsworthy.

     

    Finally, I’d like to express my disappointment in the
    electorate.  We need to educate ourselves
    in how the political system works, how our political parties behave and begin
    to demand positive change.  Parties need
    to present their platforms and Canadians need a wide public discussion of these
    platforms to convince those of us that are literate and less than literate as
    to which personal individual choice is best for us. The alternative is new
    additions to our party system or the elimination of the party system altogether
    in favor of some new direct representative model.

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