Or, as it is more commonly known, International Day of Democracy.
To mark the occasion, Marc Mayrand – Chief Electoral Officer and star of many fantastically convoluted conspiracy theories involving police raids and Liberal camera crews – sat down with the Ottawa Citizen, where he cheerfully discussed some of the initiatives underway at Elections Canada to reach out to the chronically franchise-challenged – youth, aboriginal voters, Canadian Forces members posted abroad.
He was, however, careful to avoid saying anything that could come back to haunt him if the ongoing investigation into the Conservatives’ in and out election spending scheme results in charges being laid under the Election Act:
Eighteen months ago, Marc Mayrand toiled in obscurity as the federal superintendent of bankruptcy, a position so absent of political import that many on Parliament Hill wouldn’t even know it exists.
But since his appointment as the country’s chief electoral officer, the soft-spoken bureaucrat has clashed with the Conservative party over campaign finances and faced multipartisan outrage over his interpretation of the election law that allows voters to cast ballots while wearing face coverings. He’s been dragged into court over the in-and-out scheme, called to testify before parliamentary committees and endured the governing party voting against a House of Commons motion expressing confidence in his agency. Oh, and he’s also had to put together seven byelections and is now hosting the $280-million party that is Canada’s 40th general election.
“It’s a learning experience,” he said with a smile in an interview yesterday. “I’m not used to being in the middle of those kinds of disputes.”
He is clearly uncomfortable with all the attention.
“My personal philosophy is that the regulator should not be front-and-centre of the action.”
He declined to discuss the in-and-out case, which is before the courts, but said his agency has “taken notice” of the Conservatives’ vote of non-confidence. “The majority of MPs voted in support and showed confidence in Elections Canada,” he said.
Which, of course, is perfectly true: three out of the four parties in the House voted in favour of a motion to “to express its full and complete confidence in Elections Canada and the Commissioner of Elections Canada.” One — did not.
Oh, and in the same story, Glen McGregor catches the Conservative Party committing another photo-related faux pas. No, not more copyright infringement – although come to think of it, after prudently pruning notaleader.ca of various video clips that the party was using without permission, shouldn’t the official site get a going over as well, since many of the same snippets also appear there?
Anyway, this time, it’s one for the Unintentionally ironic Usage of Stock Footage: Apparently, the beatific beach-roaming family that graces the latest round of ads, depicted as potential victims of Dion’s dastardly plot to yank back the Tories’ $100 a month child care benefit are actually Americans – and at least one is a registered Democrat.
UPDATE: I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but I note that two of my favourite C/conservative (I never like to assume voting patterns, y’all) commenters are in a lather over Stephane Dion’s leadership debt repayment schedule — just like the Senior Tory Spokesperson who delivered yesterday’s week one wrapup told reporters was going to be on the agenda for the party this week:
The Conservative campaign will make a series of announcements related to bread-and-butter issues that directly impact average families. They will also attack Stephane Dion over his lingering leadership debt, questioning how he can be trusted to run the nation’s finances.
Anyway, I’d tell you to feel free to use this as an open thread to “question how he can be trusted to run the nation’s finances,” but it seems that you’re way ahead of me, so — carry on!