Voter engagement - Macleans.ca
 

Voter engagement


 

The Conservatives are challenging ballots collected at a University of Guelph polling station, this after a member of the local Conservative campaign allegedly tried to seize a ballot box.

Several University of Guelph students claim Michael Sona, the communications director for Guelph Conservative candidate Marty Burke, attempted to put a stop to voting at the special ballot held Wednesday. The students say Sona approached the Elections Canada balloting site claiming that the process unfolding at the location was illegal and at one point reached for but never took possession of a container with ballots.

“He tried to grab for the ballot box. I’m not sure he got his hand on the box, but he definitely grabbed for it,” said Brenna Anstett, a student, who at the time of the reported incident was sealing her second of two envelopes containing her vote. Student Claire Whalen was just about to receive her ballot just before 5 p.m. when the episode unfolded. “That’s when a guy came up and said it was an illegal polling station and that he was confiscating the ballots. And then he tried to take (the ballot box),” Whalen said.


 

Voter engagement

  1. As far as I am aware these ballots were never a problem before? Confusing. The optics on this aren't very good for the Harper Conservatives.

  2. As far as I am aware these ballots were never a problem before? Confusing. The optics on this aren't very good for the Harper Conservatives.

    • As far as I am aware these ballots were never a problem before?

      Maybe that's because when the media come up with these smear jobs, they don't provide context by telling you about the Liberals complaining about the exact same thing in 2006. It goes without saying that when the Liberals raise complaints, Elections Canada complies.

      Also, it would help if Wherry actually included the content of the Conservative complaints, which were that there were no scrutineers present, and there was partisan election material at the polling station, which is illegal.

      And according to David Akin on Twitter, "Elections Canada says (just called 'em) that the U of G voting was not an advance poll, as per the Act"

      Where's Potter? We need another good rant about how easy it is do smear jobs when important context is omitted from a story.

      • Whether it is the Liberals or Conservatives it still looks bad. I don't condone the behavior either way. Also I don't think that the Libs actually tried to take a ballot box.
        Elections Canada media adviser James Hale later told the Guelph Mercury that this is the third election in which the university has held a special ballot on campus.
        Hale also said this is the first time it's ever been challenged.

        • And an Elections Canada employee was patrolling the line, making sure there were no partisan materials present. But you can believe the story of the guy who tried to snatch a ballot box if you want.

          • Also, to quote Kady O'Malley on Twitter: " Trying to take a ballot box away from a voting station is NEVER okay."

            I'm withholding judgement, this could be a tempest in a teapot. But if somebody really did reach for a ballot box, that would be a whole new level depravity in Canadian politics.

      • Your understanding of "exact same thing" seems fundamentally flawed. This is especially ridiculous given your constant whining of differential treatment between parties.

      • The right response is to document and report. Not to act like a crazy person and trying to steal the ballot box.

        • Agreed. Says more to me about the crazy person than anything else, though I get that for Con haters they think that type of action is status quo for Cons. Alas.

          • I concur as well. Regardless as to the 'why' this fellow did it, he wasn't right in trying to grab the box. I am quite glad that he didn't get it, as it would have been horrible PR if he had. I would imagine, though, that he was quite agitated, as he probably felt there was nothing else that he could do. I would also imagine that emotions were running high at the time.
            I find it funny that when a single crazy person does something, it is the 'cons'. If a liberal says that sexual assault is okay in some situations, it is a 'one off', or worse, not mentioned at all.

            Regardless, of what actually went on, there aren't enough details in this article to call it accurate reporting.

            Anything to create an issue where there isn't one.

  3. The stuff the CPC candidate did was far worse than what he was complaining about.

  4. The stuff the CPC candidate did was far worse than what he was complaining about.

    • The CPC candidate did something?

      • See how they think – might as well said that Harper was there doing it. . . that's how the thought patterns work – lol

      • something bad

  5. Of course it's the CPC's "fault",

    of course there's no merit to CPC concern,

    of course there's no other side to the story, other than one in which the CPC are portrayed as villains.

    The media has become unhinged, and they have willingly abandoned any semblence of providing the public with the full context in matters, both sides, balance.

    All stories now must lead to CPC malevolence and if that means ignoring facts, spinning, or plain 'ol propagandizing, they will do it.

    The scandal of our generation.

  6. NOBODY can confiscate ANYTHING at a polling station except Elections Canada officials or the police.

  7. NOBODY can confiscate ANYTHING at a polling station except Elections Canada officials or the police.

    • Nobody can start their own polling station.

      • You'd best read the Act, Dude. Elections Canada states it was legal.

        What is it you don't understand about facts?

  8. Yes Chet…This is the CPC's fault. There was never a problem before with the voting at the college . Why is there now? There is no spin as far as I can see. Con fellow actually tried to take the ballot box fer cryin' out loud. The lawyer involved is the same one involved in the Geurgis(sp) debacle. Just what would it take for you to actually criticize anything at all about Harper? It seems to me that the ones becoming unhinged are the Conservatives. Trying to grab the ballot box?! What is up with that??!!

  9. Yes Chet…This is the CPC's fault. There was never a problem before with the voting at the college . Why is there now? There is no spin as far as I can see. Con fellow actually tried to take the ballot box fer cryin' out loud. The lawyer involved is the same one involved in the Geurgis(sp) debacle. Just what would it take for you to actually criticize anything at all about Harper? It seems to me that the ones becoming unhinged are the Conservatives. Trying to grab the ballot box?! What is up with that??!!

    • Grabbing for a ballot box is certainly extremely egregious, but I have strong doubts that Harper would ever condone such a thing. And that's the point. Harper haters will no doubt think this reflects on him, but truly it only reflects on the person who (allegedly) did it.

      And I would further say that this is another story where there are a lot of unanswered questions, and yet people have already passed judgment for the most part. Similar to the leaked AG report.

      • Some amount of responsibility has to be held for actions. I mean, adscam was done by the people who did adscam, but people have no problem pinning on the Liberal party generally (with some justification).

        • Yes, but that's kind of my point. Because now you are comparing a program that was being orchestrated systematically within the highest ranks of the Liberal party with the crazy actions of one staffer.

          • Well it looks like CPC HQ is trying to cover his butt now, so they're in for the pound, so to speak.

          • I really can't see how this is going to look good for the Conservatives. I am surprised they even pursued it.

      • I don't believe that Harper condoned or even knew about it. What I find disturbing is that for 3 elections this wasn't a problem. I am also bothered that Elections Canada sent the election materials there and are now saying it wasn't authorized, and yes, there is a great deal that isn't known.

      • "I have strong doubts that Harper would ever condone such a thing"

        Well given his track record (In and Out) I think there's room for some doubt about that. And its not the fact that he claims everyone else did it (demonstrably false), but that he'd rather drag it out for all its worth than just let it go and say he's sorry and it won't happen again.

        Frankly it is ludicrous to expect he would ever have the appearance of condoning such a thing but there's enough smoke emanating from his organization to think there's fire somewhere . . . he may well be disposed to a wink here & there, political animal that he is.

  10. Chet Chet Chet – give us your best stuff!
    As a former scrutineer, at all THREE levels of government in Canada – I have to say that a) the CPC Rep. wasn't an official agent b) doesn't understand the rules of the Elections Act and c) could have got his own candidate disqualified if complaints were filed

  11. Chet Chet Chet – give us your best stuff!
    As a former scrutineer, at all THREE levels of government in Canada – I have to say that a) the CPC Rep. wasn't an official agent b) doesn't understand the rules of the Elections Act and c) could have got his own candidate disqualified if complaints were filed

  12. Does his alleged behavior remind anyone of another CPC candidate – Sam Goldstien? the guy who wouldn't show up for a hearing then later barged in and demanded to give testimony right then, then showed up on MacLeans to answer questions and then disappeared?

  13. Does his alleged behavior remind anyone of another CPC candidate – Sam Goldstien? the guy who wouldn't show up for a hearing then later barged in and demanded to give testimony right then, then showed up on MacLeans to answer questions and then disappeared?

    • no.

      • It's got that same, waltz in act however you want no matter how absuredly egregious it is flavour to it, though.

        • That is a massive stretch . . .

  14. It's one thing to have a problem with something, but it's another to try to steal a ballot box. That Conservative employee should be arrested for trying to prevent people from voting. I hope police are on scene today to protect the voters and their rights.

  15. As far as I am aware these ballots were never a problem before?

    Maybe that's because when the media come up with these smear jobs, they don't provide context by telling you about the Liberals complaining about the exact same thing in 2006. It goes without saying that when the Liberals raise complaints, Elections Canada complies.

    Also, it would help if Wherry actually included the content of the Conservative complaints, which were that there were no scrutineers present, and there was partisan election material at the polling station, which is illegal.

    And according to David Akin on Twitter, "Elections Canada says (just called 'em) that the U of G voting was not an advance poll, as per the Act"

    Where's Potter? We need another good rant about how easy it is do smear jobs when important context is omitted from a story.

  16. It's one thing to have a problem with something, but it's another to try to steal a ballot box. That Conservative employee should be arrested for trying to prevent people from voting. I hope police are on scene today to protect the voters and their rights.

    • The stuff about the ballot box certainly concerns me far more than the original complaint. Both should be investigated and dealt with appropriately.

      • yes.

  17. A little difficult to present both sides when this is the behaviour of the Conservatives.

    Sona, who recently was a University of Guelph student, did not respond to phone calls or emails placed to him Thursday by the newspaper. He was in a meeting Thursday when a reporter stopped by Burke's campaign office for comment on this story. Burke campaign officials confirmed Sona was aware of the requests for comment. The nature of the story was also described to the Burke campaign in connection with requests to interview Sona.

    Burke has not yet made a public comment in connection with the special ballot issues. Requests to interview him in connection with this story did not yield an interview.
    http://www.guelphmercury.com/news/local/article/5

  18. A little difficult to present both sides when this is the behaviour of the Conservatives.

    Sona, who recently was a University of Guelph student, did not respond to phone calls or emails placed to him Thursday by the newspaper. He was in a meeting Thursday when a reporter stopped by Burke%E2%80%99s campaign office for comment on this story. Burke campaign officials confirmed Sona was aware of the requests for comment. The nature of the story was also described to the Burke campaign in connection with requests to interview Sona.

    Burke has not yet made a public comment in connection with the special ballot issues. Requests to interview him in connection with this story did not yield an interview.
    http://www.guelphmercury.com/news/local/article/5

  19. A little difficult to present both sides when this is the behaviour of the Conservatives.

    Sona, who recently was a University of Guelph student, did not respond to phone calls or emails placed to him Thursday by the newspaper. He was in a meeting Thursday when a reporter stopped by Burke's campaign office for comment on this story. Burke campaign officials confirmed Sona was aware of the requests for comment. The nature of the story was also described to the Burke campaign in connection with requests to interview Sona.

    Burke has not yet made a public comment in connection with the special ballot issues. Requests to interview him in connection with this story did not yield an interview.
    http://www.guelphmercury.com/news/local/article/5

  20. Whether it is the Liberals or Conservatives it still looks bad. I don't condone the behavior either way. Also I don't think that the Libs actually tried to take a ballot box.
    Elections Canada media adviser James Hale later told the Guelph Mercury that this is the third election in which the university has held a special ballot on campus.
    Hale also said this is the first time it's ever been challenged.

  21. Or, it could actually be the truth, ya know. Not EVERY single news story is a conspiracy against your team, bro.
    I think your boy dennis says something quite often about knee-jerk reactions.
    It's kinda like crying wolf, am i wrong?
    This should be fun.

  22. Whether it is the Liberals or Conservatives it still looks bad. I don't condone the behavior either way. Also I don't think that the Libs actually tried to take a ballot box.
    Elections Canada media adviser James Hale later told the Guelph Mercury that this is the third election in which the university has held a special ballot on campus.
    Hale also said this is the first time it%E2%80%99s ever been challenged.

  23. Or, it could actually be the truth, ya know. Not EVERY single news story is a conspiracy against your team, bro.
    I think your boy dennis says something quite often about knee-jerk reactions.
    It's kinda like crying wolf, am i wrong?
    This should be fun.

    • It is obvious that Sona was in the wrong, but without more details, it doesn't paint the whole picture.
      As far as more information, there is a post a few up from this, that has more details than the news article. I would imagine that he didn't walk in and just try to grab the box. There was probably an exchange of many words. I am sure that the folks who were there all know what he thought the issue was – that wasn't reported, and it could have been. I am not saying that there is a conspiracy, just that this was bad reporting. If that was due to bias, or ignorance, cares.
      Again, to blame any party for the actions of one person, at a riding level, is unfair. It will happen in all the parties.

  24. Your understanding of "exact same thing" seems fundamentally flawed. This is especially ridiculous given your constant whining of differential treatment between parties.

  25. It's one thing to have an issue about the conduct of the poll, i'ts quite another to go all Zimbabwe on it, and try to make off with the ballot box.

  26. TRIED TO SEIZE A BALLOT BOX???

  27. The complaint filing would seem to be a bit of an afterthought from the Conservatives to try and gloss over Sona's actions. He's not just a comms director in the campaign, he's also a staffer in Ottawa.

    Let the allegations be investigated by EC, but let them also investigate Sona's actions and take appropriate action against the candidate he represents.

  28. Maybe Sona thinks electoral fraud is his ticket to the Senate. Who could blame him for thinking like that?

  29. It's one thing to have an issue about the conduct of the poll, i'ts quite another to go all Zimbabwe on it, and try to make off with the ballot box.

  30. TRIED TO SEIZE A BALLOT BOX???

    • allegedly.

      • Since it was witnessed by a large number of people, I don't think there's any 'allegedly' about it.

        • You are going by the subjective account of a couple of people. Has everyone been interviewed Emily? Statements have been gathered by all witnesses? Has his side of the story been heard? It seems to me one person told the media he tried to grab for the box and failed, but definitely tried.

          If it's true, I hope he works at McDonalds the rest of his life, I really do. But it remains unequivocally an allegation right now.

          • Clutching at straws, guy.

          • Jonatwitan is just being fair, and following the rule of law. until someone is convicted, any crime against them is alleged. It is pretty simple. I would hate for anyone's reputation to be totally destroyed, over a a single comment. More reporting will give more details, and this Sona person might very well end up fired, but until we have more FACTS – it is alleged.

          • LOL this from the bunch that screams about using 'allegedlly' in any other case…..Jonatwitan is just part of the Con crowd currently running from the scene of the crime

  31. The complaint filing would seem to be a bit of an afterthought from the Conservatives to try and gloss over Sona's actions. He's not just a comms director in the campaign, he's also a staffer in Ottawa.

    Let the allegations be investigated by EC, but let them also investigate Sona's actions and take appropriate action against the candidate he represents.

    • Great. A nutjob on the government payroll.

      Surely attempting to steal a ballot box is an offense, right? I hope he's charged. This is not reasonable behaviour at a polling station.

    • the complaint was pure damage control … and it seemed to work….
      Our mentally challenged media jumped on the complaint while comparatively ignoring the potentially violent voter intimidation.

      • We still don't have all the details of what happened there . . . don't jump the gun.

    • What action should be taken against the candidate?

  32. Maybe Sona thinks electoral fraud is his ticket to the Senate. Who could blame him for thinking like that?

    • He probably has a portrait of Doug Finley on his mantelpiece, or at least on his facebook page

  33. The stuff about the ballot box certainly concerns me far more than the original complaint. Both should be investigated and dealt with appropriately.

    • Mr. Hamilton appears to not understand the distinction between advance polling and special ballots. Here are the guidelines from EC regarding Special Ballots (,pdf)
      http://is.gd/k1IXht

    • Thanks for some illumination on this story and a sarcastic thanks to Wherry for providing a comment section to his one-sided blog that allows you to post a link so the real story comes out.

      Elections Canada has to be more vigilant about their job—-there is a proper method of setting up an Advance poll. It is obvious the make-believe poll at Un. of Guelph should have been disallowed by Elections Canada.

      • and yet for the last three elections these "special ballots"…NOT advance polls…. have had no problem. I think perhaps by "real story" you mean one that you can agree with…….

        • maybe this is the first time some group has tried to abuse the rules to their own advantage?

          Most parties and people try to ensure that the voting aspect of elections is fair.

  34. And an Elections Canada employee was patrolling the line, making sure there were no partisan materials present. But you can believe the story of the guy who tried to snatch a ballot box if you want.

  35. Little pebbles, just lying around.

  36. Little pebbles, just lying around.

  37. Seems so desperate; seems so anti-democratic. Oh well, if chet says it's okay, then what do I know?

  38. Seems so desperate; seems so anti-democratic. Oh well, if chet says it's okay, then what do I know?

  39. It bears noting that this all happened on the nefarious U of Guelph campus, where a dancing "mob" celebrating the right to vote and trying to gain entry to Harper's visual space were sent packing just a week or so back. And now, in a logical follow-up move, their ballot boxes are being seized by the local conservative spinmeister.

    That's quite some campaign the CPC has going on there, for sure. It's hard to decide if this is art imitating life, or vice versa.

  40. Also, to quote Kady O'Malley on Twitter: " Trying to take a ballot box away from a voting station is NEVER okay."

    I'm withholding judgement, this could be a tempest in a teapot. But if somebody really did reach for a ballot box, that would be a whole new level depravity in Canadian politics.

  41. It will be a full time job for the media to slant the news in an effort to portray the Conservatives as all things evil and help to push the Liberals into some kind of minority situation on May 2.
    Iggy just had a softball questionnaire in Guelph:
    2 softball questions on Guergis.
    A lob tossed in on the questionable voting methods at Un, of Guelph.
    2 softball questions on Afghan documents.
    How do you feel about a Conservative worker that has some assosciation with the Tamil tigers ?
    What can you do in your campaign to close the gap on the Tories ?
    What is the danger of a Harper majority ?

    Twice Iggy said he would like to have the Justices release the Afghan documents immediately but he did not want them used against the Tories in the Election–obviously a blatant lie and nobody called him on it.

    Any experienced and objective journalist must have walked away from that news conference ashamed about his profession. Fortunately for the voting public Iggy still comes off as annoying dweeb even when he is served up softballs.

  42. It will be a full time job for the media to slant the news in an effort to portray the Conservatives as all things evil and help to push the Liberals into some kind of minority situation on May 2.
    Iggy just had a softball questionnaire in Guelph:
    2 softball questions on Guergis.
    A lob tossed in on the questionable voting methods at Un, of Guelph.
    2 softball questions on Afghan documents.
    How do you feel about a Conservative worker that has some assosciation with the Tamil tigers ?
    What can you do in your campaign to close the gap on the Tories ?
    What is the danger of a Harper majority ?

    Twice Iggy said he would like to have the Justices release the Afghan documents immediately but he did not want them used against the Tories in the Election–obviously a blatant lie and nobody called him on it.

    Any experienced and objective journalist must have walked away from that news conference ashamed about his profession. Fortunately for the voting public Iggy still comes off as annoying dweeb even when he is served up softballs.

    • Accidental blindness is so unfortunate; intentional blindness?… senseless.

    • Blue I was watching commercials on TV 4 months ago about the "evils" of "Iggy" "Just visiting"…"He didn't come back for you"…..please stop whining

      • So, by referring to earlier Conservative commercials, are you suggesting that these softball questionnaires that the media serves up to Iggy should be treated as TV commercials ?

  43. Classic Republican tactic. Looking through the last Nanos numbers it's obvious that if the kids get out and vote, they won't be voting Conservative (is there anything more smug and smarmy than a young Conservative? Alex P. Keaton anyone?). Here we have the Conservative Party working in its best interests, nothing less.

    Real conservatives and libertarians are disgusted by this tactic.

  44. Classic Republican tactic. Looking through the last Nanos numbers it's obvious that if the kids get out and vote, they won't be voting Conservative (is there anything more smug and smarmy than a young Conservative? Alex P. Keaton anyone?). Here we have the Conservative Party working in its best interests, nothing less.

    Real conservatives and libertarians are disgusted by this tactic.

    • If Elections Canada are going to participate in these special polls then it is their responsibility to see that the rules of an Election Day Poll pertain to these Advance Polls.
      If the rules were adhered to, then all is well.
      If not then Disallow this special vote in Guelph and fix the situation.

      • But don't steal the ballot box. The allegations of irregularity are not the story here (unless/until proven true). The story is that some looney tried to steal a ballot box. This is very serious.

        • It is up to Elections Canada to see that these polls are conducted properly. But you are right–the young man should not have interfered with the ballot box even if he was frustrated by the improper set-up.
          —-Probably not a Capital Offense though.

        • Actually, I have just read the letter that was posted above. I am starting to think that he didn't want to steal the box, just read all the numbers and seals on it. That way the CPC would be able to identify the box with the ballots in question, to Elections Canada. That the people working there wouldn't give that information makes me wonder why. . .
          Again, this just proves that Aaron's 'reporting skills are a little rusty.

      • Not an advance poll. Special ballot. The distinction is important. Special ballots have unique guidelines. The issue the CPC seems to have is the denial of a party scutineeer. There are, apparently, no provisions for scrutineers in special ballots.

        That said, this from CPC HQ:

        "The Marty Burke campaign vehemently denies that any of its workers or volunteers interfered with the process. In particular, the Marty Burke campaign denies that any of its workers or volunteers touched a ballot box or ballot. The campaign asked to have an identified scrutineer present, and this right was denied. The outlandish and unfounded claims being spread on the Internet are the product of desperation, and are most regrettable"

        • "denies that any of its workers or volunteers touched a ballot box or ballot"

          If you read the Guelph Mercury story, you'll note the allegation was that he "reached" for the ballot box. So, the CPC story is hair-splittingly true. Good work, communications staffers. Well crafted.

          • is it possible that he 'reached' then stopped himself? An instant reaction, which he stopped before he completed it, now turns into 'he tried to steal the ballot box'?
            Spin goes both ways. .

    • You've been in the US too long. The parties in Canada are: Consrevative, Liberal, NDP, BQ, Green, and a bunch of smaller ones. Democrats vs Republicans is in the USA. Get with the program.

      • My friend, unlike Mr. Ignatieff, I've only been here 75-odd days, give or take a few. Rushing polling stations is a known tactic of the Republican party; that this event strikes some similarities between the two concerns me. More and more American tactics are being imported into our country. I trust this attempt at voting booth intimidation is an outlier rather than an omen.

        • There is only one case of voter intimidation in the courts in the USA and that involved a couple of Black Panthers (ie Democrat supporters). Funny enough, the Obama administration has essentially tried to snuff the case. I wonder why? Oh yeah, cuz inner city blacks vote over 90% Democrat.
          http://biggovernment.com/sright/2010/07/09/new-bl

          You cannot rush a polling station if the necessary controls are in place, and that's what this issue is about.

  45. Mr. Hamilton appears to not understand the distinction between advance polling and special ballots. Here are the guidelines from EC regarding Special Ballots (,pdf)
    http://is.gd/k1IXht

  46. Thanks for some illumination on this story and a sarcastic thanks to Wherry for providing a comment section to his one-sided blog that allows you to post a link so the real story comes out.

    Elections Canada has to be more vigilant about their job—-there is a proper method of setting up an Advance poll. It is obvious the make-believe poll at Un. of Guelph should have been disallowed by Elections Canada.

  47. Accidental blindness is so unfortunate; intentional blindness?… senseless.

  48. The right response is to document and report. Not to act like a crazy person and trying to steal the ballot box.

  49. Blue I was watching commercials on TV 4 months ago about the "evils" of "Iggy" "Just visiting"…"He didn't come back for you"…..please stop whining

  50. This should be the headline story for today.
    (Harper likely leaked the Helana affair just in time to provide some cover while he trashes his ex-patsy. )
    Active, potentially violent voter intimidation and vote suppression – yet another Rethuglican import from the USA.
    ………….
    Overspend your limit and create fraudulent transactions to cover.
    Constantly challenge the legitimacy and integrity of Elections Canada.
    Spend oodles of tax $$ promoting the ruling party.
    Neuter and prorogue Parliament.
    a small sample of Minority Harper ..

  51. and yet for the last three elections these "special ballots"…NOT advance polls…. have had no problem. I think perhaps by "real story" you mean one that you can agree with…….

  52. This should be the headline story for today.
    (Harper likely leaked the Helana affair just in time to provide some cover while he trashes his ex-patsy. )
    Active, potentially violent voter intimidation and vote suppression – yet another Rethuglican import from the USA.
    ………….
    Overspend your limit and create fraudulent transactions to cover.
    Constantly challenge the legitimacy and integrity of Elections Canada.
    Spend oodles of tax $$ promoting the ruling party.
    Neuter and prorogue Parliament.
    a small sample of Minority Harper ..

  53. Great. A nutjob on the government payroll.

    Surely attempting to steal a ballot box is an offense, right? I hope he's charged. This is not reasonable behaviour at a polling station.

  54. Let's just let EC do it's job and determine if the allegations are true … I wouldn't be surprised if after the investigation was completed that they were true.

  55. Let's just let EC do it's job and determine if the allegations are true … I wouldn't be surprised if after the investigation was completed that they were true.

    • But then again my opinion is partisan in nature so I trust that everyone who is serious about these allegations can make their own opinions based on the evidence provided by both sides.

      • the point is we don't have much evidence right now.

    • Let's just let EC do it's job and determine if the allegations are true

      Exactly – let Elections Canada do its job instead of having the local Conservative representative attempt to swipe the ballot box (as multiple witnesses have alleged). Then, if the special poll is ruled invalid, Elections Canada must ensure that the temporarily disenfranchised students have the opportunity to vote, in the same riding, by some means that all parties agree is legal.

      To do anything else would be a blatant attempt to gain a tactical advantage for the Conservatives by denying a bloc of voters the opportunity to exercise their basic democratic right.

      • Having a new special poll done if this one is ruled invalid is something that should be done if possible… after all young people don't participate enough as it is in the political process.

        • Now, thanks to your guy, they could be forced to participate TWICE! Awesome!

          • Better to be safe then sorry and please remember that both sides stories should be investigated and before people jump to conclusions … not all witnesses can be reliable

          • Fair enough – but any result that disenfranchises the Guelph students is unacceptable.

          • The problem is that school's out soon…so even if they so a new special poll, the turnout will unlikely be the same…

            Well done CPC! Well done!

      • Did he try to 'swipe' it?
        The students say Sona approached the Elections Canada balloting site claiming that the process unfolding at the location was illegal and at one point reached for but never took possession of a container with ballots.

        After reading this the second time, I would say that Sona stopped himself. It doesn't say that someone stopped him. AS a matter of fact, the CPC has the number of the box, as well as the number of the seals on the top and bottom of the box. Could he have reached for it, thought bad idea, and asked someone to turn it over for him? How else did the CPC get those numbers?

        The more objectively I think about this, the more I am thinking Aaron is a bad reporter. These are questions I would have found out, or I wouldn't have run the story.

        • I commend you on your incremental-ism. I particularly like how ballot box has morphed to "container with ballots"

          As for "These are questions I would have found out, or I wouldn't have run the story.". If those involved refuse to give their version what can be done. The Mercury did try to contact Sona and the conservative campaign in Guelph to no avail.

          • Backhanded compliment? Either way, on this board, I will take it. :)
            I am not being incremental intentionally, it is just that the more I think about how to make all the pieces align, this is what seem to be the most logical. I find it funny that some people read this small article and go 'ah, ha SH is evil'. I was on article, and a poster actually said that SH had explicitly told Sona to take the box. Falsehoods spread quickly.
            You are right that Sona isn't taking calls, but I came to my conclusion (which isn't set in stone, just seems more likely the more I read than think about it) with info available on the web. Aaron has more resources at his disposal.
            Seems to me that he took a couple of politically active students (just by them being there, I think we can both assume that is true) account, without grilling them for more. If anything that Sona believed is true, it is possible that everyone in the room was 'anti-Harper', and therefore might be expected to give a slanted account. If nothing else, ask them what they mean by 'reached for it'. Did he stop himself, did someone else stop him, did someone turn over the box for him, etc.? Easy questions to ask.

          • modster99 states "Seems to me that he took a couple of politically active students (just by them being there, I think we can both assume that is true) account, without grilling them for more. If anything that Sona believed is true, it is possible that everyone in the room was 'anti-Harper', and therefore might be expected to give a slanted account."
            Starting to maybe verge on unlikely conspiracy theories.

          • How in any way can that be construed to be a 'conspiracy theory'?

            I stated that I was assuming that by being there, they were politically active. Feel free to disagree, and follow up with points that make sense.

            I used the word 'if' when talking about Sona's beliefs. Not saying they are true, or that I believe them.
            I never said that all the people there were 'anti-Harper', because I don't know either way. I stated that 'if' Sona beliefs were accurate, 'it is possible' that everyone in the room was 'anti-Harper'. Do you understand how the English language works. I am throwing out ideas. I am not assuming. I am trying to discuss an issue, so that all may better understand it. If you have some information or insight that would lead people to understand things differently, please feel free to share.

            But I guess if you have nothing to add to the debate, you can just make silly accusations.

            I could have made my comment briefly, by saying something like 'Seems to me that Aaron didn't do a very detailed job of finding out what happened.' Oh, wait, I said pretty much that in an above post, and others commented to that, so this was my post explaining one possible reason why more digging by the reporter was needed. No conspiracy, just logic.

          • This goes to your incrementalism on this story. You postulate that "it is possible that everyone in the room was 'anti-Harper'". This is ether calculated spin or paranoia no matter how you try to obfuscate. And we both know it is calculated spin.

          • no spin. I was just offering an alternative to what was being talked about here as fact. I have no way of knowing what went on there,and neither did the other people posting. I was just trying to say that there are other possibilities. We weren't given all the info in the above article, so everyone was speculating. How come when someone proposes a possibility that you don't agree with, it is spin? If I had hypothesized that Sona was drunk, would you have accused me of 'spin'.

            See my note below(?) in regards to your incremental suggestion. :)

          • I catch what you are saying here, but the above sentence was a quote from the original story.

            "The students say Sona approached the Elections Canada balloting site claiming that the process unfolding at the location was illegal and at one point reached for but never took possession of a container with ballots."

            Read it yourself – no incremental-ism here. Funny how you think that, though; we both read the same story.

  56. But then again my opinion is partisan in nature so I trust that everyone who is serious about these allegations can make their own opinions based on the evidence provided by both sides.

  57. the complaint was pure damage control … and it seemed to work….
    Our mentally challenged media jumped on the complaint while comparatively ignoring the potentially violent voter intimidation.

  58. So, by referring to earlier Conservative commercials, are you suggesting that these softball questionnaires that the media serves up to Iggy should be treated as TV commercials ?

  59. This could really backfire on the Conservatives if it galvanizes university students to get out and vote. The optics aren't good.The students are not going to be focused on the legal wranglings of Arthur Hamilton if they see this as the party trying to suppress their right to vote. The fact that this took place at the same University where Harper had the "Get out to vote " rally participants removed from his event only validates the argument that Harper is undermining democracy . Dumb move.

  60. If Elections Canada are going to participate in these special polls then it is their responsibility to see that the rules of an Election Day Poll pertain to these Advance Polls.
    If the rules were adhered to, then all is well.
    If not then Disallow this special vote in Guelph and fix the situation.

  61. This could really backfire on the Conservatives if it galvanizes university students to get out and vote. The optics aren't good.The students are not going to be focused on the legal wranglings of Arthur Hamilton if they see this as the party trying to suppress their right to vote. The fact that this took place at the same University where Harper had the "Get out to vote " rally participants removed from his event only validates the argument that Harper is undermining democracy . Dumb move.

  62. Do you condone trying to steal the ballot box under these circumstances? Even if this did contravene the ECA, the correct response is to document and report, not to try to illegally make off with the ballot box. Only a crazy person would do that.

  63. But don't steal the ballot box. The allegations of irregularity are not the story here (unless/until proven true). The story is that some looney tried to steal a ballot box. This is very serious.

  64. This is taking Voter Suppression to a whole other level!

  65. This is taking Voter Suppression to a whole other level!

  66. Not an advance poll. Special ballot. The distinction is important. Special ballots have unique guidelines. The issue the CPC seems to have is the denial of a party scutineeer. There are, apparently, no provisions for scrutineers in special ballots.

    That said, this from CPC HQ:

    "The Marty Burke campaign vehemently denies that any of its workers or volunteers interfered with the process. In particular, the Marty Burke campaign denies that any of its workers or volunteers touched a ballot box or ballot. The campaign asked to have an identified scrutineer present, and this right was denied. The outlandish and unfounded claims being spread on the Internet are the product of desperation, and are most regrettable"

  67. Agreed. Says more to me about the crazy person than anything else, though I get that for Con haters they think that type of action is status quo for Cons. Alas.

  68. The CPC candidate did something?

  69. It is up to Elections Canada to see that these polls are conducted properly. But you are right–the young man should not have interfered with the ballot box even if he was frustrated by the improper set-up.
    —-Probably not a Capital Offense though.

  70. If he felt that in fact that they were contravening the ECA then yes they should have documented and reported it to the police or EC. I suspect that Mr Sona became a little too fed up with what he say as violations of the ECA and decided the best course of action was to take things into his own hands. Our group doesn't believe that it would have been apparent to take that course of action … instead he should have either communicated directly with EC or if he suspected that the were no valid EC officials at the poll he should have then contacted police and have them deal with it.

  71. If he felt that in fact that they were contravening the ECA then yes they should have documented and reported it to the police or EC. I suspect that Mr Sona became a little too fed up with what he say as violations of the ECA and decided the best course of action was to take things into his own hands. Our group doesn't believe that it would have been apparent to take that course of action … instead he should have either communicated directly with EC or if he suspected that the were no valid EC officials at the poll he should have then contacted police and have them deal with it.

  72. Grabbing for a ballot box is certainly extremely egregious, but I have strong doubts that Harper would ever condone such a thing. And that's the point. Harper haters will no doubt think this reflects on him, but truly it only reflects on the person who (allegedly) did it.

    And I would further say that this is another story where there are a lot of unanswered questions, and yet people have already passed judgment for the most part. Similar to the leaked AG report.

  73. yes.

  74. allegedly.

  75. Let's just let EC do it's job and determine if the allegations are true

    Exactly – let Elections Canada do its job instead of having the local Conservative representative attempt to swipe the ballot box (as multiple witnesses have alleged). Then, if the special poll is ruled invalid, Elections Canada must ensure that the temporarily disenfranchised students have the opportunity to vote, in the same riding, by some means that all parties agree is legal.

    To do anything else would be a blatant attempt to gain a tactical advantage for the Conservatives by denying a bloc of voters the opportunity to exercise their basic democratic right.

  76. It's got that same, waltz in act however you want no matter how absuredly egregious it is flavour to it, though.

  77. Having a new special poll done if this one is ruled invalid is something that should be done if possible… after all young people don't participate enough as it is in the political process.

  78. Some amount of responsibility has to be held for actions. I mean, adscam was done by the people who did adscam, but people have no problem pinning on the Liberal party generally (with some justification).

  79. Since it was witnessed by a large number of people, I don't think there's any 'allegedly' about it.

  80. Now, thanks to your guy, they could be forced to participate TWICE! Awesome!

  81. Yes, but that's kind of my point. Because now you are comparing a program that was being orchestrated systematically within the highest ranks of the Liberal party with the crazy actions of one staffer.

  82. Harper, meanwhile, stared directly into the eyes of all 30 million Canadians and said "Let me be clear. No ballot box was touched by a conservative operative. Let us stop this bickering so that I can focus on the economy."

  83. Harper, meanwhile, stared directly into the eyes of all 30 million Canadians and said "Let me be clear. No ballot box was touched by a conservative operative. Let us stop this bickering so that I can focus on the economy."

  84. Please keep in mind people that both sides allegations need to be investigated to be verified. Given our groups experience in student politics it is not uncommon for the truth to be stretched by all sides to the story. For all we know Mr Sona could have simply stepped up close towards the ballot boxes and that was spin by the other sides to make it seen like Mr Sona was trying to take the ballot bixes

  85. Please keep in mind people that both sides allegations need to be investigated to be verified. Given our groups experience in student politics it is not uncommon for the truth to be stretched by all sides to the story. For all we know Mr Sona could have simply stepped up close towards the ballot boxes and that was spin by the other sides to make it seen like Mr Sona was trying to take the ballot bixes

    • To repeat my response to you in another thread on this page: fair enough – but any result that disenfranchises the Guelph students is unacceptable.

  86. You are going by the subjective account of a couple of people. Has everyone been interviewed Emily? Statements have been gathered by all witnesses? Has his side of the story been heard? It seems to me one person told the media he tried to grab for the box and failed, but definitely tried.

    If it's true, I hope he works at McDonalds the rest of his life, I really do. But it remains unequivocally an allegation right now.

  87. Better to be safe then sorry and please remember that both sides stories should be investigated and before people jump to conclusions … not all witnesses can be reliable

  88. Clutching at straws, guy.

  89. "denies that any of its workers or volunteers touched a ballot box or ballot"

    If you read the Guelph Mercury story, you'll note the allegation was that he "reached" for the ballot box. So, the CPC story is hair-splittingly true. Good work, communications staffers. Well crafted.

  90. I concur as well. Regardless as to the 'why' this fellow did it, he wasn't right in trying to grab the box. I am quite glad that he didn't get it, as it would have been horrible PR if he had. I would imagine, though, that he was quite agitated, as he probably felt there was nothing else that he could do. I would also imagine that emotions were running high at the time.
    I find it funny that when a single crazy person does something, it is the 'cons'. If a liberal says that sexual assault is okay in some situations, it is a 'one off', or worse, not mentioned at all.

    Regardless, of what actually went on, there aren't enough details in this article to call it accurate reporting.

    Anything to create an issue where there isn't one.

  91. See how they think – might as well said that Harper was there doing it. . . that's how the thought patterns work – lol

  92. I have only two questions:
    1. Was the voting site free of partisan material?
    2. Was there a Conservative scrutineer of the ballot-box?

    If 1 was not true, then this exercise was in violation of Elections Canada rules. If 2 was not true, then I would seriously doubt the validity of the results. Both of these claims need to be investigated objectivity. Frankly, I wouldn't put it past the Tories to engage in some form of shenanigans, but neither do I expect much of the kind of idiots that are engaged in student politics. When I was an undergrad, our student government spent student fee money so they could go protest the Iraq war, and on a separate occasion, prevented one side of a referendum from advertising in a referendum by refusing to approve any advertising by that side.

    If it turns out that the site was in compliance with the rules, then the Conservatives are indeed guilty of voter suppression. On the other hand, if the voting site is in violation of the rules, then whoever organized the event is guilty of stuffing the ballot box. If this is how we are to increase voter turnout, lets stop the pretense of a fair election altogether, and start putting dead people on the rolls.

    As for the media, a headline like "Conservatives grab ballot box" may come back to haunt you if the reality is "Conservatives have legitimate concerns about voting process".

  93. I have only two questions:
    1. Was the voting site free of partisan material?
    2. Was there a Conservative scrutineer of the ballot-box?

    If 1 was not true, then this exercise was in violation of Elections Canada rules. If 2 was not true, then I would seriously doubt the validity of the results. Both of these claims need to be investigated objectivity. Frankly, I wouldn't put it past the Tories to engage in some form of shenanigans, but neither do I expect much of the kind of idiots that are engaged in student politics. When I was an undergrad, our student government spent student fee money so they could go protest the Iraq war, and on a separate occasion, prevented one side of a referendum from advertising in a referendum by refusing to approve any advertising by that side.

    If it turns out that the site was in compliance with the rules, then the Conservatives are indeed guilty of voter suppression. On the other hand, if the voting site is in violation of the rules, then whoever organized the event is guilty of stuffing the ballot box. If this is how we are to increase voter turnout, lets stop the pretense of a fair election altogether, and start putting dead people on the rolls.

    As for the media, a headline like "Conservatives grab ballot box" may come back to haunt you if the reality is "Conservatives have legitimate concerns about voting process".

    • Excellent post

    • I wouldn't put it past the Tories to engage in some form of shenanigans, but neither do I expect much of the kind of idiots that are engaged in student politics.

      The whole point of democracy is that everyone who is over 18 gets to vote, even if some of us think that they're idiots. Some of them probably think that we're idiots, too. In Canada, democracy is the process that we use to distinguish between idiocy and non-idiocy (as you know – I'm speaking to all of the readership here, not just to you).

      Ensuring that the voting process was fair and did not violate Elections Canada guidelines is appropriate. What is not appropriate is any outcome that denies the Guelph students the right to vote in the riding in which they live. Any procedural wrangling that results in disenfranchisement – even if this procedural wrangling is "legal" – is an affront to the Canadian democratic process.

      And, yes, I think the Conservatives are capable of trying to stall this process as long as possible to attempt to gain a partisan advantage.

    • A quick point on scrutineers: Candidates are allowed to have up to two representatives at any official polling station, but the presence of these representatives (or scrutineers) is not a legal requirement for the collection of valid ballots. From Section 137 (2) of the Canada Elections Act:

      Non-attendance of representatives
      (2) The non-attendance of a representative of a candidate at any time or place authorized by this Act does not in any way invalidate any act or thing done during the absence of the representative if the act or thing is otherwise duly done.

      If the presence of scrutineers was required then a minor candidate who thought he or she was going to lose could invalidate an entire election by simply not participating in the scrutineering of ballots or the collection process.

      This is a fairly common misconception – just thought I'd clear it up.

      • Yes, but the candidates MUST be provided with the option of having a scrutineer. That is the issue. For this to happen, there must be advance warning provided to Elections Canada for all candidates to be notified.

        Of course votes will count if a candidate chooses not to have a scrutineer at a polling station. Sometimes there are not enough scrutineers available to a candidate. But the candidate has the right to choose.

    • hth—The people in the media who are interested in this story receiving total attention today will not be interested in expressing their concern about their inaccuracy if the answer to your 2 questions is no.

      Their goal is to influence their readership today—accuracy is not important—if their story proves to be inaccurate at some time down the road, then the correction will be lost in some new ( false ) story.

      • Like Harper's mentor Flanagan saying it doesn't have to be true, just plausible. Like all those lies harper told during the debate while speaking to his own reflection in the camera.

  94. Excellent post

  95. It is obvious that Sona was in the wrong, but without more details, it doesn't paint the whole picture.
    As far as more information, there is a post a few up from this, that has more details than the news article. I would imagine that he didn't walk in and just try to grab the box. There was probably an exchange of many words. I am sure that the folks who were there all know what he thought the issue was – that wasn't reported, and it could have been. I am not saying that there is a conspiracy, just that this was bad reporting. If that was due to bias, or ignorance, cares.
    Again, to blame any party for the actions of one person, at a riding level, is unfair. It will happen in all the parties.

  96. no one is arguing that Sona was in the right . . .

  97. That is a massive stretch . . .

  98. Fair enough – but any result that disenfranchises the Guelph students is unacceptable.

  99. I don't believe that Harper condoned or even knew about it. What I find disturbing is that for 3 elections this wasn't a problem. I am also bothered that Elections Canada sent the election materials there and are now saying it wasn't authorized, and yes, there is a great deal that isn't known.

  100. Jonatwitan is just being fair, and following the rule of law. until someone is convicted, any crime against them is alleged. It is pretty simple. I would hate for anyone's reputation to be totally destroyed, over a a single comment. More reporting will give more details, and this Sona person might very well end up fired, but until we have more FACTS – it is alleged.

  101. a nut job on the gov't payroll – this somehow surprises you . . .

  102. We still don't have all the details of what happened there . . . don't jump the gun.

  103. Well it looks like CPC HQ is trying to cover his butt now, so they're in for the pound, so to speak.

  104. What action should be taken against the candidate?

    • —Things are getting a little desperate over at LPC headquarters !

  105. I wouldn't put it past the Tories to engage in some form of shenanigans, but neither do I expect much of the kind of idiots that are engaged in student politics.

    The whole point of democracy is that everyone who is over 18 gets to vote, even if some of us think that they're idiots. Some of them probably think that we're idiots, too. In Canada, democracy is the process that we use to distinguish between idiocy and non-idiocy (as you know – I'm speaking to all of the readership here, not just to you).

    Ensuring that the voting process was fair and did not violate Elections Canada guidelines is appropriate. What is not appropriate is any outcome that denies the Guelph students the right to vote in the riding in which they live. Any procedural wrangling that results in disenfranchisement – even if this procedural wrangling is "legal" – is an affront to the Canadian democratic process.

    And, yes, I think the Conservatives are capable of trying to stall this process as long as possible to attempt to gain a partisan advantage.

  106. LOL this from the bunch that screams about using 'allegedlly' in any other case…..Jonatwitan is just part of the Con crowd currently running from the scene of the crime

  107. To repeat my response to you in another thread on this page: fair enough – but any result that disenfranchises the Guelph students is unacceptable.

  108. Can you give a coles notes as to the difference? I can't see why, regardless of the rules of each, any voting location should be different that what is normally allowed. There should not be political advertisement material anywhere around it. There should be a scrutineer. Everything should be done to ensure that any location where voting is occurring should be non-partisan. I believe this regardless of what party seems to be favored.

    If the rules for special ballots say otherwise, we should change them.

  109. maybe this is the first time some group has tried to abuse the rules to their own advantage?

    Most parties and people try to ensure that the voting aspect of elections is fair.

  110. or is there an active anti-Harper smear campaign going there that we have yet to hear about . . .

    Hard to judge until we know all the facts.

  111. A quick point on scrutineers: Candidates are allowed to have up to two representatives at any official polling station, but the presence of these representatives (or scrutineers) is not a legal requirement for the collection of valid ballots. From Section 137 (2) of the Canada Elections Act:

    Non-attendance of representatives
    (2) The non-attendance of a representative of a candidate at any time or place authorized by this Act does not in any way invalidate any act or thing done during the absence of the representative if the act or thing is otherwise duly done.

    If the presence of scrutineers was required then a minor candidate who thought he or she was going to lose could invalidate an entire election by simply not participating in the scrutineering of ballots or the collection process.

    This is a fairly common misconception – just thought I'd clear it up.

  112. good point.
    Partisan ads and objective journalism are not in the same ballpark. . .

  113. The problem is that school's out soon…so even if they so a new special poll, the turnout will unlikely be the same…

    Well done CPC! Well done!

  114. So Ignatieff answered at least 8 questions from media, while the coward Harper would have run away halfway through.

  115. So Ignatieff answered at least 8 questions from media, while the coward Harper would have run away halfway through.

    • Iggy might be better to limit his time in front of the cameras. The longer he is there the more the public will think he is not worthy of the softball treatment from the press.

      • "Iggy" seems to not have a problem answering questions. Harper seems to have a problem answering questions. Harper is scared I guess.

        • or softball questions are easier to answer. . . .?

    • does that prove the point that softball questions are easy to answer. . .

  116. Actually, I have just read the letter that was posted above. I am starting to think that he didn't want to steal the box, just read all the numbers and seals on it. That way the CPC would be able to identify the box with the ballots in question, to Elections Canada. That the people working there wouldn't give that information makes me wonder why. . .
    Again, this just proves that Aaron's 'reporting skills are a little rusty.

  117. is it possible that he 'reached' then stopped himself? An instant reaction, which he stopped before he completed it, now turns into 'he tried to steal the ballot box'?
    Spin goes both ways. .

  118. The students say Sona approached the Elections Canada balloting site claiming that the process unfolding at the location was illegal and at one point reached for but never took possession of a container with ballots.

    After reading this the second time, I would say that Sona stopped himself. It doesn't say that someone stopped him. AS a matter of fact, the CPC has the number of the box, as well as the number of the seals on the top and bottom of the box. Could he have reached for it, thought bad idea, and asked someone to turn it over for him? How else did the CPC get those numbers?

    The more objectively I think about this, the more I am thinking Aaron is a bad reporter. These are questions I would have found out, or I wouldn't have run the story.

  119. The students say Sona approached the Elections Canada balloting site claiming that the process unfolding at the location was illegal and at one point reached for but never took possession of a container with ballots.

    After reading this the second time, I would say that Sona stopped himself. It doesn't say that someone stopped him. AS a matter of fact, the CPC has the number of the box, as well as the number of the seals on the top and bottom of the box. Could he have reached for it, thought bad idea, and asked someone to turn it over for him? How else did the CPC get those numbers?

    The more objectively I think about this, the more I am thinking Aaron is a bad reporter. These are questions I would have found out, or I wouldn't have run the story.

    • He posts and quotes the documents. How is that bad reporting, because he doesn't indulge in fanatasies about how pure and virtuous the Conservatives are?

  120. Iggy might be better to limit his time in front of the cameras. The longer he is there the more the public will think he is not worthy of the softball treatment from the press.

  121. the point is we don't have much evidence right now.

  122. Did he try to steal it?
    The students say Sona approached the Elections Canada balloting site claiming that the process unfolding at the location was illegal and at one point reached for but never took possession of a container with ballots.

    After reading this the second time, I would say that Sona stopped himself. It doesn't say that someone stopped him. AS a matter of fact, the CPC has the number of the box, as well as the number of the seals on the top and bottom of the box. Could he have reached for it, thought bad idea, and asked someone to turn it over for him? How else did the CPC get those numbers?

    The more objectively I think about this, the more I am thinking Aaron is a bad reporter. These are questions I would have found out, or I wouldn't have run the story.

  123. Did he try to steal it?
    The students say Sona approached the Elections Canada balloting site claiming that the process unfolding at the location was illegal and at one point reached for but never took possession of a container with ballots.

    After reading this the second time, I would say that Sona stopped himself. It doesn't say that someone stopped him. AS a matter of fact, the CPC has the number of the box, as well as the number of the seals on the top and bottom of the box. Could he have reached for it, thought bad idea, and asked someone to turn it over for him? How else did the CPC get those numbers?

    The more objectively I think about this, the more I am thinking Aaron is a bad reporter. These are questions I would have found out, or I wouldn't have run the story.

    • You do know this is a blog, right?

  124. Did he try to 'swipe' it?
    The students say Sona approached the Elections Canada balloting site claiming that the process unfolding at the location was illegal and at one point reached for but never took possession of a container with ballots.

    After reading this the second time, I would say that Sona stopped himself. It doesn't say that someone stopped him. AS a matter of fact, the CPC has the number of the box, as well as the number of the seals on the top and bottom of the box. Could he have reached for it, thought bad idea, and asked someone to turn it over for him? How else did the CPC get those numbers?

    The more objectively I think about this, the more I am thinking Aaron is a bad reporter. These are questions I would have found out, or I wouldn't have run the story.

  125. What leads you to speculate "some group has tried to abuse the rules to their own advantage? " And what group would that be – Liberal, NDP, Green, Conservative, some other group or a combination of groups ?

  126. hth—The people in the media who are interested in this story receiving total attention today will not be interested in expressing their concern about their inaccuracy if the answer to your 2 questions is no.

    Their goal is to influence their readership today—accuracy is not important—if their story proves to be inaccurate at some time down the road, then the correction will be lost in some new ( false ) story.

  127. I commend you on your incremental-ism. I particularly like how ballot box has morphed to "container with ballots"

    As for "These are questions I would have found out, or I wouldn't have run the story.". If those involved refuse to give their version what can be done. The Mercury did try to contact Sona and the conservative campaign in Guelph to no avail.

  128. Backhanded compliment? Either way, on this board, I will take it. :)
    I am not being incremental intentionally, it is just that the more I think about how to make all the pieces align, this is what seem to be the most logical. I find it funny that some people read this small article and go 'ah, ha SH is evil'. I was on article, and a poster actually said that SH had explicitly told Sona to take the box. Falsehoods spread quickly.
    You are right that Sona isn't taking calls, but I came to my conclusion (which isn't set in stone, just seems more likely the more I read than think about it) with info available on the web. Aaron has more resources at his disposal.
    Seems to me that he took a couple of politically active students (just by them being there, I think we can both assume that is true) account, without grilling them for more. If anything that Sona believed is true, it is possible that everyone in the room was 'anti-Harper', and therefore might be expected to give a slanted account. If nothing else, ask them what they mean by 'reached for it'. Did he stop himself, did someone else stop him, did someone turn over the box for him, etc.? Easy questions to ask.

  129. "Iggy" seems to not have a problem answering questions. Harper seems to have a problem answering questions. Harper is scared I guess.

  130. Hey, I thought that was what the Internet ( and the media ) was all about—to speculate.

  131. something bad

  132. I really can't see how this is going to look good for the Conservatives. I am surprised they even pursued it.

  133. that is silly.

  134. does that prove the point that softball questions are easy to answer. . .

  135. or softball questions are easier to answer. . . .?

  136. "I have strong doubts that Harper would ever condone such a thing"

    Well given his track record (In and Out) I think there's room for some doubt about that. And its not the fact that he claims everyone else did it (demonstrably false), but that he'd rather drag it out for all its worth than just let it go and say he's sorry and it won't happen again.

    Frankly it is ludicrous to expect he would ever have the appearance of condoning such a thing but there's enough smoke emanating from his organization to think there's fire somewhere . . . he may well be disposed to a wink here & there, political animal that he is.

  137. He probably has a portrait of Doug Finley on his mantelpiece, or at least on his facebook page

  138. Maybe a coalition of groups??

  139. Maybe a coalition of groups??

    • An evul coalition of voters?

  140. Too bad your side has a long history of using this argument to deny responsibility for wrongdoing.

  141. Incidentally, when the shoe was on the other foot in 2006, the Liberals intervened to stop voting at U of T, when – once again – Elections Canada rules were not being followed. Stopping ballot-stuffing is NOT voter suppression. Increasing voter turnout is only a good thing, if the new votes actually reflect the desires of those new voters.
    http://business.highbeam.com/1758/article-1G1-140

  142. Incidentally, when the shoe was on the other foot in 2006, the Liberals intervened to stop voting at U of T, when – once again – Elections Canada rules were not being followed. Stopping ballot-stuffing is NOT voter suppression. Increasing voter turnout is only a good thing, if the new votes actually reflect the desires of those new voters.
    http://business.highbeam.com/1758/article-1G1-140

  143. Nobody can start their own polling station.

  144. You've been in the US too long. The parties in Canada are: Consrevative, Liberal, NDP, BQ, Green, and a bunch of smaller ones. Democrats vs Republicans is in the USA. Get with the program.

  145. Yes, but the candidates MUST be provided with the option of having a scrutineer. That is the issue. For this to happen, there must be advance warning provided to Elections Canada for all candidates to be notified.

    Of course votes will count if a candidate chooses not to have a scrutineer at a polling station. Sometimes there are not enough scrutineers available to a candidate. But the candidate has the right to choose.

  146. —Things are getting a little desperate over at LPC headquarters !

  147. My friend, unlike Mr. Ignatieff, I've only been here 75-odd days, give or take a few. Rushing polling stations is a known tactic of the Republican party; that this event strikes some similarities between the two concerns me. More and more American tactics are being imported into our country. I trust this attempt at voting booth intimidation is an outlier rather than an omen.

  148. There is only one case of voter intimidation in the courts in the USA and that involved a couple of Black Panthers (ie Democrat supporters). Funny enough, the Obama administration has essentially tried to snuff the case. I wonder why? Oh yeah, cuz inner city blacks vote over 90% Democrat.
    http://biggovernment.com/sright/2010/07/09/new-bl

    You cannot rush a polling station if the necessary controls are in place, and that's what this issue is about.

  149. For official polling stations, certainly. And if a scrutineer shows up to a place where ballots are being collected, an EC official certainly doesn't appear to have any grounds under the Act to refuse that person entry – with the single exception being that a candidate already has two representatives present. The two-per rule is firm except for the brief period of time when the candidate enters a polling station to vote.

    I was initially a bit perplexed by EC's decision to discourage these sorts of initiatives, but it's beginning to make more sense the more I think about it. Parties might want similar events at senior's residences, town halls, schools, and you can't turn down some requests and accept others for fear of perceived bias. The burden on returning officers would be massive.

  150. Yes. The most important thing about elections in a democracy is the integrity of the process. If you lose that, you cannot get it back. Ever. It's the most important aspect. Ensuring that voting is on the up-and-up is absolutely essential.

    I would feel very uncomfortable if polling stations started popping up left and right all over the place. Can you imagine stations showing up in the supermarket, in the bank, in the laundromat, at bus stops? The most obvious problem is the difficulty to ensure the integrity of them all. But that's not the only problem.

    In fact, there is an undemocratic aspect to these university polling stations. Why should some special groups get special attention? If you target students, then what about other groups which have low turnout? Where does it end? Any special targeting at all will alter the results. It opens up all sorts of possible questionable practices. Can you imagine advance polling stations showing up in neighbourhoods known to be skewed towards one party or another? Nobody in a democracy should get preferential treatment.

    Look at maps like this: http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/04/07/geek-out-elect

    With the example riding of Outremont, if you're NDP or Liberal, you obviously want as many polling stations as possible on your favoured side of town. Even if it happens to be a college or university.

    Can you imagine the possibilities? Even consider the fact that different universities have different voting habits! Conservatives may get more votes from community colleges, liberals from universities, who knows?

  151. Yes. The most important thing about elections in a democracy is the integrity of the process. If you lose that, you cannot get it back. Ever. It's the most important aspect. Ensuring that voting is on the up-and-up is absolutely essential.

    I would feel very uncomfortable if polling stations started popping up left and right all over the place. Can you imagine stations showing up in the supermarket, in the bank, in the laundromat, at bus stops? The most obvious problem is the difficulty to ensure the integrity of them all. But that's not the only problem.

    In fact, there is an undemocratic aspect to these university polling stations. Why should some special groups get special attention? If you target students, then what about other groups which have low turnout? Where does it end? Any special targeting at all will alter the results. It opens up all sorts of possible questionable practices. Can you imagine advance polling stations showing up in neighbourhoods known to be skewed towards one party or another? Nobody in a democracy should get preferential treatment.

    Look at maps like this: http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/04/07/geek-out-elect

    With the example riding of Outremont, if you're NDP or Liberal, you obviously want as many polling stations as possible on your favoured side of town. Even if it happens to be a college or university.

    Can you imagine the possibilities? Even consider the fact that different universities have different voting habits! Conservatives may get more votes from community colleges, liberals from universities, who knows?

    • Ooh, special interest voters! Can't have that, especially if they might not vote for your candidate, eh? This democracy thing is highly overrated, right?

      • scf makes an intelligent point about the issue of the day.

        HS reads little and write less.

  152. Ooh, special interest voters! Can't have that, especially if they might not vote for your candidate, eh? This democracy thing is highly overrated, right?

  153. Like Harper's mentor Flanagan saying it doesn't have to be true, just plausible. Like all those lies harper told during the debate while speaking to his own reflection in the camera.

  154. An evul coalition of voters?

  155. scf makes an intelligent point about the issue of the day.

    HS reads little and write less.

  156. He posts and quotes the documents. How is that bad reporting, because he doesn't indulge in fanatasies about how pure and virtuous the Conservatives are?

  157. modster99 states "Seems to me that he took a couple of politically active students (just by them being there, I think we can both assume that is true) account, without grilling them for more. If anything that Sona believed is true, it is possible that everyone in the room was 'anti-Harper', and therefore might be expected to give a slanted account."
    Starting to maybe verge on unlikely conspiracy theories.

  158. You do know this is a blog, right?

  159. How in any way can that be construed to be a 'conspiracy theory'?

    I stated that I was assuming that by being there, they were politically active. Feel free to disagree, and follow up with points that make sense.

    I used the word 'if' when talking about Sona's beliefs. Not saying they are true, or that I believe them.
    I never said that all the people there were 'anti-Harper', because I don't know either way. I stated that 'if' Sona beliefs were accurate, 'it is possible' that everyone in the room was 'anti-Harper'. Do you understand how the English language works. I am throwing out ideas. I am not assuming. I am trying to discuss an issue, so that all may better understand it. If you have some information or insight that would lead people to understand things differently, please feel free to share.

    But I guess if you have nothing to add to the debate, you can just make silly accusations.

    I could have made my comment briefly, by saying something like 'Seems to me that Aaron didn't do a very detailed job of finding out what happened.' Oh, wait, I said pretty much that in an above post, and others commented to that, so this was my post explaining one possible reason why more digging by the reporter was needed. No conspiracy, just logic.

  160. You'd best read the Act, Dude. Elections Canada states it was legal.

    What is it you don't understand about facts?

  161. This goes to your incrementalism on this story. You postulate that "it is possible that everyone in the room was 'anti-Harper'". This is ether calculated spin or paranoia no matter how you try to obfuscate. And we both know it is calculated spin.

  162. I catch what you are saying here, but the above sentence was a quote from the original story.

    "The students say Sona approached the Elections Canada balloting site claiming that the process unfolding at the location was illegal and at one point reached for but never took possession of a container with ballots."

    Read it yourself – no incremental-ism here. Funny how you think that, though; we both read the same story.

  163. no spin. I was just offering an alternative to what was being talked about here as fact. I have no way of knowing what went on there,and neither did the other people posting. I was just trying to say that there are other possibilities. We weren't given all the info in the above article, so everyone was speculating. How come when someone proposes a possibility that you don't agree with, it is spin? If I had hypothesized that Sona was drunk, would you have accused me of 'spin'.

    See my note below(?) in regards to your incremental suggestion. :)