Federal Court upholds 2011 election results in 'robocall' ridings - Macleans.ca
 

Federal Court upholds 2011 election results in ‘robocall’ ridings


 

OTTAWA – Fraud was definitely a factor in the rash of misleading robocalls that bedevilled voters in six federal ridings in the 2011 election, but not enough of one to justify overturning the results, a Federal Court judge has decided.

The ruling, released late Thursday, left both sides in the dispute — the Conservative party in one corner, the voters who fielded the calls in the other — claiming victory of a sort.

Though fraud was at play as a result of the robocalls, the scale didn’t justify wiping out the results of voting, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley concluded.

“The scale of the fraud has to be kept in perspective,” Mosley wrote in the decision.

“The number and location of the complaints received by Elections Canada from across Canada indicates that the voter suppression effort was geographically widespread but, apart from Guelph (Ont.), thinly scattered.”

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 CIMS database, accessed by “a person or persons currently unknown to this court.”

The Conservatives issued a statement noting the ruling found no evidence of wrongdoing by the party or any of the candidates or campaign teams involved in the challenge. The statement also blasted the advocacy group that bankrolled the challenge.

“The Council of Canadians court challenge was a transparent attempt to overturn certified election results simply because this activist group didn’t like them,” the statement said.

Still, the council — which paid the legal bills of the eight voters who launched the challenge — took solace in the judge’s finding that fraud did occur.

“What we can do with that I think is to demonstrate that there was very shady business going on,” said executive director Garry Neil.

“What happened in the 2011 federal election has significantly raised public consciousness about these kind of shenanigans and I suspect it will be far more difficult, if not impossible, for somebody to get away with this kind of thing in future.”

The complainants are considering whether to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. If they do, the council will continue to cover the cost, Neil said.

Maude Barlow, the council`s national chair, called Mosley’s ruling a ”powerful victory” for the eight voters who launched the challenges, adding that while the Conservative Party will try to paint this as a victory, ”they have nothing to celebrate.”

She said the council is launching an appeal to raise the $70,000 needed to cover a possible appeal.

The voters who launched the challenge were among those who say they received misleading and harassing robocalls during the campaign.

The six ridings in question are 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.

Elections Canada is also probing fraudulent robocalls, stemming from complaints that have surfaced in 56 ridings across the country.


 
Filed under:

Federal Court upholds 2011 election results in ‘robocall’ ridings

  1. Dear Canadian taxpayers,
    I would like to announce, that after this rather ambiguous ruling by a federal court in regards to the number of fraudulent robo-calls made during the 2011 election, I will be contacting all those people in the run-up to the 2015 federal election, who did not vote for the Conservative Party, and directing them to non existent polling stations all across the great country of ours.
    Yours truly,
    Pierre Poutine

  2. “The Conservatives issued a statement noting the ruling found no evidence
    of wrongdoing by the party or any of the candidates or campaign teams
    involved in the challenge.”

    And there they go with their distortions and half-truths again. The judge said there was fraud (a.k.a. “wrongdoing”) but not at a sustained level that would warrant overturning the election results.

    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 CIMS database,
    accessed by “a person or persons currently unknown to this court.”

    As the only people with access to CIMS are Party members, it can be assumed someone in the CPC was responsible – though he or she may simply have gone rogue.

    So, basically, the whole thing stinks, but there wasn’t enough solid evidence to get a conviction.

  3. I hate seeing my country getting torn apart like this because of our
    monkeys for politicians and their failed assimilation and immigration
    policies. This is crazyness. Im not judging every immigrant for
    the economic decline of Canada, unlike many others of you might… But Im saying that we need to
    stand up for our country and say NO! You are NOT going to ruin our
    country that gave you the chance to get a better life and live without
    fear of getting targeted or raped by Somalians and Nigerians. Now we as Swedes are afraid of this in
    our own homeland, just like the immigrants before coming here and doing
    the exactly same thing! Its much alike the situation between Palestine
    and Israel and Israel is mass immigrating on Palestinian land and dumping white phosphourous on children. Even though I might not look very Swedish, Im born and
    raised here. Then we have those ignorant excuses for humans to judge by
    race – the very same thing that Zionists does to Palestinians and Arabs
    in their own homelands, because they are not Jewish/Zionist. Theres no difference between Racism and Zionism I, myself believe
    a lot in the Non-Zionist ideals, since it strengths and secure the society
    for a better future not depending on any form of foreign filth.

  4. Game over. The Council eats another loss. All is well in the good old world.