What the election commissioner said - Macleans.ca

What the election commissioner said

It’s true there’s no evidence dirty tricks changed the overall election. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t affect close races.

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Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com/Flickr

During QP yesterday, Pierre Poilievre stood and relayed a remark of the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

There was no conduct reported that would bring into question the integrity of the election result overall or the result in a particular riding.

That sentence is taken from a memo that was released by Elections Canada, though heavily redacted, through an access to information request. For the record, the full observation reads as follows.

There was no conduct reported that would bring into question the integrity of the election result overall or the result in a particular riding. Although misconduct was reported in several ridings, there is no complaint that it affected the final result. There is some speculation in the media that the dirty tricks may have affected the result in some close contests.

That memo is dated May 16. Two months later, the Chief Electoral Officer released his official report on the 41st general election. Under the heading “Electoral law enforcement,” Marc Mayrand explains that the commissioner received 1,003 communications.

The Commissioner’s Office dealt with the majority of the 1,003 communications in a timely manner by verifying the complaint, providing the requested information, contacting the parties to correct the situation or educating the parties involved on the requirements of the Canada Elections Act. Most of these complaints concerned one of the following categories:

  • the legality of certain activities undertaken during the election
  • the absence of authorization statements in election advertising
  • election advertising that appeared to be paid for by the government or appeared to provide an advantage to incumbents
  • campaigning in certain locations, such as malls and apartment buildings
  • unsolicited telephone calls
  • automated telephone messages
  • signs placed without permission
  • crank calls

Mr. Mayrand reports on two particular issues—communication technology and third-party advertising—and then concludes with the following note.

The Commissioner is looking into several complaints surrounding:

  • premature transmission of election results on polling day by major media
  • crank calls designed to discourage voting, discourage voting for a particular party, or incorrectly advise electors of changed polling locations
  • employers’ obligation to allow employees time to vote