Conservative MPs seeking $355K from voters who launched robocalls court case

Council of Canadians calls request ‘outrageous’

OTTAWA – Seven Conservative MPs are seeking a combined $355,907 from a group of voters who went to court and lost their bid to overturn election results in their federal ridings because of misleading robocalls.

A document recently filed in Federal Court says the Tories are asking for a “modest fixed amount” in legal fees plus disbursements.

The Conservative MPs — Joyce Bateman, Kelly Block, Lawrence Toet, Jay Aspin, John Duncan, Ryan Leef and Joe Daniel — say they are asking for far less money than they could have sought.

“The total figure arrived at represents only a small fraction of the actual costs incurred by the respondent parliamentarians, to which they were otherwise entitled,” the court document says.

“The total figure has been further reduced, as the respondent parliamentarians have claimed only for costs related directly to the preparation of written submissions and the attendance of counsel, while forgoing all other costs for purposes of the calculation.”

But the Council of Canadians — which bankrolled the voters’ Federal Court case — balked at the request.

“This is an outrageous amount to request, given that the judge found that voter suppression did occur and that the Conservative party database was the likely source of the call lists,” Garry Neil, executive director of the Council of Canadians, said in a statement.

Each of the applications included a $1,000 security against costs, he added.

“Seeking over $350,000 is shameful, given the applicants were serving the public interest in this case.”

A Federal Court judge concluded last month that fraud was a factor in the misleading calls, but not enough of one to justify overturning the result.

The ruling cleared the Conservative party and its candidates of any effort to mislead voters, but said the most likely source of information used to make the misleading calls was the party’s voter database.

In his nearly 100-page ruling, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley also chided the Conservatives for holding up the robocalls court case, accusing them of engaging in “trench warfare in an effort to prevent this case from coming to a hearing on the merits.”

He also took the Conservative party to task for making “little effort to assist with the investigation at the outset.”

“While it was begrudgingly conceded during oral argument that what occurred was ‘absolutely outrageous,’ the record indicates that the stance taken by the respondent MPs from the outset was to block these proceedings by any means,” Mosley wrote.

Initially, the results in seven federal ridings were contested, but the one in Don Valley East was later dropped because the woman challenging the result didn’t actually live in the riding.

The Conservatives argue that since Daniel was awarded costs when the court challenge against him was dismissed, all seven applications should be awarded costs.

The other six ridings in question were Vancouver Island North in British Columbia; Yukon; Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar in Saskatchewan; Elmwood-Transcona and Winnipeg South Centre in Manitoba; and Nipissing-Timiskaming in Ontario.




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Conservative MPs seeking $355K from voters who launched robocalls court case

  1. It’s called logical consequence: You take someone to court, you lose, chances are you are going to pay the other guy’s costs.

    • To some extent. But all the factors outlined above are also important considerations. You could make a strong case that this should be an instance for greatly reduced costs (depends if the $ amount cited by the CPC really is a much reduced representation of reasonable expenses).

    • If the other guy worked really hard to delay and obstruct the case.. chances are you aren’t.

      Although it would be interesting to see the counter-claim go up that the CPC is responsible for any costs incurred by either party which can be attributed to the delay of the case which a judge has said occurred.

    • They didn’t take any Conservative MPs to court. I believe those MPs chose to intervene.

    • It’s Elections Canada that failed to bring an important subject before the courts. EC has been advertising its own impotence since the 2008 election, and failed all of us when they left it for a citizens group to attempt to prosecute the fraud.

    • Summary:

      Robocalls occurred, source is unknown, but list came from tories,
      results are not overturned, no evidence of fraud by the tories.

      Case launched by leftie activists, they lost -therefore they pay.

      Their lawyers should be as cuplable as they are, had they been worth
      any salt they should have clearly advised them that the case was weak.
      Maybe they did, but the activists wouldn’t listen – who knows.

      They still lost, they should pay.

      This is why we don’t have an American lawsuit culture. Loser pays, means people think twice before going to court.

      This also helps to prevent activists from attempting to use courts to
      over-rule election results or processes, something which is clearly out
      of hand in the US. I have no doubt at all that some of the leftie
      pushing in this case had an american democratic flavour to it.

  2. PAY UP MAUDE !!!

  3. The conservatives are at it again. Making sure this doesn’t happen again in the future by intimidating the complainants from going forward by making them pay for something they are clearly guilty of. They are public servants, and paid for by our tax dollars. If there is election fraud in any riding, whether it’s a small or large-scale operation, that specific riding should have a re-election called to make sure everyone is playing by the same rules, PERIOD.

    • Yup! Just another form of voter suppression.

  4. About time some of these partisan fools who waste the resources and time of the court to pay

    • According to the judgement, the only ones who wasted the resources and time of the court was the CPC.

      Fraud was found. Just the judge decided that the fraudulent activity wasn’t successful enough to warrant overturning the results.

      • The short version of this story was: Conservatives win!

        The longer version is: Judge concludes someone with access to the CIS committed election fraud.

        These guys don’t know how to quit when they are ahead. Yet another sign the PMO/CPC HQ are off their game?

        • Agree. I can not understand why they aren’t acting outraged that some unknown party accessed their party’s database to carry out this business. I would think that they would “want to get to the bottom of this!”

          But, maybe they actually DO know how to quit when they are ahead, and would rather not see any further investigation.

        • Granted. Had it been any other party than the Liberal front org. “Council for Maude Barlow,” they might well have taken yes for an answer. But the urge to stick it to the porcine one was clearly too strong to overcome.

  5. Voters are aware that Cons jobs DID cheat during the last election. I am disgusted with politicians that willingly benefit from someone’s known cheating and then try to claim costs from those who sought justice for the rest of us!

    However “small” the judge considered the cheating to be, this single judge decided that a “little” cheating is ok, even though many of us think the entire election should have been overturned so we could have a clean, untainted election.

    As a result of this judge’s flawed decision, “a little” acceptable cheating is now a new legal precedent in Canada at the same time Harper Cons “lost” $3.1 Billion.

    By the new precedent set, the few billion lost Cons have “lost” in Canada’s huge annual budgets doesn’t seem to be so much. Considering the new “little” precedent, a few stray “lost” billions can be ignored, too, I have no doubt now. I am also confident Toews, who controls the RCMP, will ensure the new “little” precedent is implemented at once, eh Toews?

    Known political cheaters DID prosper this time and have managed to keep the proceeds of their “little” crime, but many of us will be working overtime in 2015 to ensure this does not happen again, rest assured Con cheaters, because many of us feel we have been cheated out of a lawful election and intend to ensure that it does not happen again!

  6. “The ruling cleared the Conservative party” Actually the judge said he did not have enough evidence to convict the CPC – a very different interpretation. He certainly did not “clear” the CPC of anything, in fact he went as far as he possibly could to suggest they were guilty as hell.

  7. This is a SLAPP – Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation – plain and simple. It’s a reprehensible tactic coming from a privately owned corporation, but it’s disgusting and anti-democratic coming from Members of Parliament including some that do a very poor job of communicating to or taking advice from anyone who isn’t a donor.

    Their party basically obstructed any real investigation into the source of the Robocalls and prolonged this federal court examination of the issue. If anyone should be paying damages it’s the Conservative Party of Canada that should pay the court costs for failing to cooperate and wasting time. The legal costs for the Council of Canadians should be covered by Election Canada which refused to do anything about the fraudulent calls, and in so doing has compromised the appearance of free and fair elections.

    • Well said!

  8. CPC is the party of goons. It’s not enough to win (by cheating), they have to leave their opponents concussed on the ice. The most graceless, gormless and clueless bunch that has ever been inflicted on this country.

    You got away with electoral fraud, you idiots, have the minimal wits required to slink away quietly.

    • Cough (Bush lite) Cough…

      Tough on crime platform – EXCEPT for any crimes committed by your supporters.

      Obfuscate, deny – rinse and repeat…

  9. Cons never miss an opportunity to bully. It’s almost like it’s in their DNA.

  10. I suppose, in the eyes of the Council of Canadians, it is o.k. for an organization such as theirs to bankroll six disgruntled left wingers who are unable or unwilling to accept the will of the people. I suspect, though, that it was more of a case of the Council being unable or unwilling to accept the will of the people finding proxies who were willing to be the organization’s patsies. In my mind, this is every bit as outrageous as Nigel Wright bankrolling Mike Duffy’s expenses refund. At least there is the possibility that the Wright/Duffy transaction was ‘between two consenting adults’.

    • The Conservatives are cheats:

      They should go to jail for this alone:

      In his nearly 100-page ruling, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley also
      chided the Conservatives for holding up the robocalls court case,
      accusing them of engaging in “trench warfare in an effort to prevent
      this case from coming to a hearing on the merits.”

      He also took the Conservative party to task for making “little effort to assist with the investigation at the outset.”

      “While it was begrudgingly conceded during oral argument that what
      occurred was ‘absolutely outrageous,’ the record indicates that the
      stance taken by the respondent MPs from the outset was to block these
      proceedings by any means,” Mosley wrote.
      The Conservatives are a bunch of crooks and liars.

      • Firstly: one of the judge’s roles is to control, within what the law
        allows, the ebb and flow of the proceedings. Therefore, the defence was
        either appropriate, or the judge failed to take proceedings in hand.
        Don’t blame the respondents for a situation not of their making.

        Secondly: your point is valid only if you are willing to limit any
        party’s right to a full and vigorous representation by counsel. Sounds
        to me like you are looking for an arbitrary and capricious application
        of the law. There are all kinds of jurisdictions like that on this old
        earth: my hope is that we never see that here

        • no.

    • Party above country forever and always, CPC crapweasles.

  11. Firstly: one of the judge’s roles is to control, within what the law allows, the ebb and flow of the proceedings. Therefore, the defence was either appropriate, or the judge failed to take proceedings in hand. Don’t blame the respondents for a situation not of their making.

    Secondly: your point is valid only if you are willing to limit any party’s right to a full and vigorous representation by counsel. Sounds to me like you are looking for an arbitrary and capricious application of the law. There are all kinds of jurisdictions like that on this old earth: my hope is that we never see that here.

  12. Ah, Hair Harper, your ugly colours shine through once again. LoL.

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