Maher gets it right

Congrats to Stephen Maher for even daring to question the competency of Elections CanadaEtobicoke vote raises troubling questions about Elections Canada’s competence:

In this case, Wrzesnewskyj’s legal team felt that Elections Canada did not bend over backwards to help them sort out the mess they made.

It’s not clear whether the people running the election knew that dozens of people voted without filling out registration certificates.

“What did Elections Canada do?” says Stephen Thiele, Wrzesnewskyj’s lawyer. “If they didn’t know, that’s a problem. If they did know, that’s a bigger problem.”

IMHO Elections Canada seems to have the attitude that the more people voting the better – even if a few mistakes are made. Just look what happened with the  “special ballot” in Guelph that was not pre-authorized but still allowed to count.

But this kind of attitude undermines confidence in the system as Maher notes:

Justice Thomas Lederer wrote that he faced a “conundrum” when he was presented with evidence of what happened in Etobicoke Centre. Our system of government relies on public confidence in the electoral process, and that confidence would be shaken if invalid voters are able to vote.

It looks like Elections Canada let that happen, at least in this riding. If it happened in other ridings, the secrets are in polling books locked in Elections Canada’s archives, and we have no way of seeing them without a court order.

Maher doesn’t seem to think that the public would trust the Harper Government to make changes to the the agency, but it does appear that more oversight and transparency are needed if EC wants to have the polling numbers increase – legitimately.

*   *   *   *

Thursday Update

Defeated federal Liberal alleges Tories suppressed votingGlobe:

On Thursday he held a news conference where he alleged that Conservative party supporters suppressed the Liberal vote in his riding, citing statements his lawyers obtained from Elections Canada staff about events on May 2, 2011.

“It’s clear that the campaign manager for the Conservatives was involved in an incident that resulted in the shutting down of a senior’s residence vote at peak voting times,” Mr. Wrzesnewskyj said.


Does anyone know of any evidence to support that allegation?  Or is it just another baseless smear?

This entry was posted in Big Bureaucracy, Canadian Parliament, Canadian Politics, democracy, Elections Canada, Incompetence, Your tax-dollars. Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Maher gets it right

  1. Joe says:

    Now if they would overturn the results in Guelph for the same reason…..

    • Joanne says:

      That’s right. Especially in view of the fact that Valeriote admitted using unidentified robocalls against the Tories:

      A former provincial Progressive Conservative candidate, Greg Schirk, who lives in the city, has discovered a call made to his home on the Saturday night before the election that does not, in apparent contravention of the Elections Act, state clearly on whose behalf it was made.

      The robo-caller identifies herself as Lori or Laurie McDonald of Guelph and says she is appalled by Mr. Burke’s beliefs on women’s rights. “Conservative candidate Marty Burke believes that under no circumstances should a woman have a right to choose…. The race in Guelph is very close — vote strategically on Monday to protect our rights from Marty Burke and his extreme views.”

  2. Liz J says:

    Well, if there’s a do-over in Etobicoke, there better be one in Guelph or we need to raise hell. EC have to start doing their job or be investigated.

  3. Bubba Brown says:

    A very troubling situation, sure to be used by the folks who refused to accept the results of the last election.
    Elections Canada has had all the appearances of being biased and incompetent by some of us for a while.
    Allowing the vote that was taken without proper authorization, scrutiny. with people displaying campaign literature in the room at that University was just plain wrong.
    Allowing people to vote without Voter cards or ID.
    A Canadian tire receipt is not ID.
    This really does call for a judicial review with the power to make changes and fire incompetent managers.
    Time for a Voter picture ID card with a chip you vote once, the card is scanned, thats all folks!
    The technology is there use it!
    Meanwhile the Montreal Mess continues with “International support” so called because of some band wearing little red squares on their t-shirts?
    I think it is past time to cut “Unequal-ization” payments.
    We have some very solvable problems here lets get to work and clean up this mess.

    • Richco says:

      True bubba. Oh, and SURPRIZE! Elections Canada hasn’t just become a hot bed of mistakes and incompetence….it’s been that way for years. Anyone whose worked on a campaign or in a campaign office surely knows that.

      Actually, if I trust ANY government at all to make changes necessary to Elections Canada it’s the Harper gov’t…….we’ll just have to get used to the whines and cries of those who try to make this into a “conservative” problem rather than a case of more bureaucratic bungling that has NEVER been thoroughly reviewed and fixed.

    • Richco says:

      post stuck in filter… link or attachment to it.

      • Joanne says:

        No rhyme or reason as to why that happens, as far as I can see. But the filter does protect you guys from reading all kinds of CRAP! Trust me.

    • Jen says:

      What about the thousands of dollars which the fed ndp got from the ‘American Union’ during the last election? Apparently the elections Canada turned the other cheek but seem very quick to point to ‘assumed’ errors made by the CPC.
      Until EC is thoroughly investigating for their incompetence’, this will continue.

  4. fh says:

    It is unfortunate that Maher cannot resist smearing the “Harper Government”
    who he states the public would not trust to make the needed changes to Election Canada
    perhaps Maher could produce proof that the public does not trust the “Harper Government”

    • Richco says:

      the truth is that the Harper gov’t is EXACTLY the one I trust to make changes and sustaining ones to Elections Canada. EC, to any who have worked closely on campaigns or in a campaign office has been broken for decades. No surprise there.

  5. fh says:

    media busy reporting what opposition parties are doing see here the hard work that the Conservative Canadian Government is doing every day but not reported by media

  6. Bubba Brown says:

    Indeed fh the same people Maher insists “Do not trust Harper” have given the Conservatives a larger share of their vote every election.
    Guess he missed that part.

  7. paulsstuff says:

    Maher is kinda right. EC’s competency does have questions. The thing is, this never started with the 2011 election. Reports and complaints of “irregularites” have been occurring as far back as the ’93 election won by the Chretien Liberals.

    Landslide Annie McLellan had complaints of irregularites (empty warehouse addresses with numerous voters listed as living there) in every election she won by a handful of votes. Ujal Dosanjh won the 2008 election by 18 votes. A judge declared Dosanjh the winner in a recount after tallying only 15% of the ballot boxes. An appeal to the court was refused, even though the total number of voters exceeded the number of voters. A Northern Territory riding, won narrowly by a Liberal, had more tallied votes than there were voters. In another northern riding, Liberals were caught and admitted to raffling a television on a bus used to take voters to a polling station to vote Liberal. 18? Quebec ridings received Adscam cash, used for local campaigns and never declared to EC in the ’97 election, giving Chretien a majority with the minimum 155 seats.

    So yes, Maher is right the Elections Canada has questions about it’s competence. The problem is he is 19 years late, and only now takes issue when a Liberal seems to have been affected by it.

    • Joanne says:

      Well said!

    • Gabby in QC says:


      Maybe you should email Maher & remind him.

    • Martin says:

      I was trying to research the story of Anne McLelland without too much success. In 1993 she won her riding by 1 vote over R Kayler, subsequently increased to 12 on a recount. Did Kayler mount a legal challenge then? Did she ever face a legal challenge after the vote? In the face of this Etobicoke saga, one wonders why previous results weren’t appealed. Did the rules change, or did the losing (non Liberal) candidates lack resources? Or did the judges simply dismiss appeals? There seems to be a fairly obvious inconsistency to how results were accepted previously.

  8. Ian in NS says:

    There’s a great example of bias-by-stealth in the article. Check this line:

    Since (Conservative MP Ted) Opitz “won” by 26 votes, and 79 fishy votes were found in just 10 of 236 polling stations (…)

    See what the writer did? Putting the word won in quotes makes the reader think, oh, the win is tainted, the voting problems must have been Opitz’s fault, after all 79 bad votes is more than the 26 by which he won.

    Never mind the 79 bad votes could all have been for Wrzesnewskyj for all we know, or could have been an even split. We don’t know. The article doesn’t say.

    Then again the bias may not be so stealthy since the lead is a picture of a beaming Wrzesnewskyj. Look, reader, happy Liberal! Doesn’t that make you feel good?

    Makes me want to heave.

  9. Joanne says:

    I guess the main point here- as readers have pointed out – is that perhaps MSM is starting to realize what conservatives have known all along? That EC is not infallible.

    Baby steps.

  10. Martin says:

    The bias at the Ottawa Citizen is in no way subliminal, they including McGregor and Maher are as consistently anti- CPC/PMSH as a newspaper can be.
    This judgement by Lederer will leave a horrible precedent if not overturned, I don’t agree with Maher that the SC is unlikely to rule differently, but it is important to find out. If left, any candidate losing by a close margin and with deep pockets could simply ask for a judicial decision. As we see from some of the comments here, no poll is exempt from errors and mistakes by EC officials. I don’t see judges as any improvement over decisions by EC, and EC did approve this result in a recount.
    I would like to know what precedent was set by some of the legal decisions referred to above by paulsstuff; surely it doesn’t depend on the whim of the individual judge?

    I agree part of the problem is a misguided zeal on the part of EC to maximize the voter turnout, even if a few corners have to be cut. Why is this a goal for democracy?
    Allowing busloads of voters at a poll to vote is not something EC should be encouraging; and a Canadian Tire receipt is not proper ID. The rules are clear enough, EC must just enforce them with complete consistency.

  11. Lorraine says:

    I have inside knowledge of Anne McClennan’s close elections in Edmonton Centre-the Returning Office ignored complaints and irrefutable evidence that hundreds of voters used their downtown business addresses from law firms, accounting firms, etc. to vote in the riding when in fact they lived outside the riding. This was a tactic done with deliberate manipulation by Anne’s Liberal campaign team.
    It is only after computers became more sophisticated that these anomalies could be fixed-100 people could not all “live” in a downtown office building that had NO residences.
    If the losing candidates had Boris’s money and lawyers and took EC to court to challenge her wins the results would have been Anne LOSING by a landslide in my opinion.
    I also witnessed the “Anne buses” which picked up senile, blind and infirm persons from seniors residences for the Advance Polls – all who had received a voter card of course and Anne volunteers brought them in and “helped ” them vote.
    Complaints were dismissed-the media did not even want to cover any of this.

    • Martin says:

      Right, I have read some similar stories of “Landslide Annie” on the blogs, but never, ever on the MSM, and this is the problem.
      Similarly she slipped under the radar on some precedents for prima facie contempt of parliament charges 2 years ago. The darling of consensus media to be sure, a former Justice Minister.
      But in terms of context. it is abolutely necessary to bring up her team’s election shenanigans, and EC responce, with the current case in Etobicoke. Mayer conveniently ignores it, as do all the consensus media, it needs to be brought to the forefront.

      • Bec says:

        This was the case that inspired my interest in politics and to try and read, decipher what went on behind the scenes.
        I cannot remember since this one, a single election that I have felt the EC staff were 100% competent or well trained in a venue that I voted at or worked at.

        I said at the first blog I ever posted on that I was concerned about them and when EC behaves the way they did allegedly 😉 calling the CBC to witness the raiding of CPC headquarter, well we have a problem, Canada.

        WE had obvious issues then and we have had obvious issues since so when we have an agency scrutinizing themselves and a possible partisan policing it…….hmmmm.

        I’m of the opinion that if WE make the noise it will be us that are punished so this is refreshing that a Judge outed EC as the culprit in this particular riding… we’ll still win!

  12. fh says:

    CC is back drop by and say hi he has been overwhelmed by hate comments he needs to sue the people making false accusations that have caused him severe grief
    saying he did will NOT make it true

    • Jen says:

      Refresh our memory fh ” Who is ‘CC’

      If Maher thinks something smell sinks at EC, I hope that he gets to the bottom of it.

      • Bec says:


        Christian Conservative (Andrew Prescott) who regardless of the outcome of this kangaroo court that the media/opps have instigated, I will continue to support and believe him.
        AS a volunteer it terrifies me that because someone is a Conservative, your life can be altered forever, at your expense.

        • Bec says:

          PS…sadly I can’t send him my best. His blog is red flagged by my virus protection. I wonder why it’s only the nasty black fly types that are getting through?

          Good job CC and I have never doubted you.

          • Joanne says:

            There’s a lot of hate out there and much of it is generated by the other ‘CC’. Search on Christian Conservative on Twitter and you’ll see what I mean.

          • Jen says:

            Bec the website you directed me to is definitely not Andrew Prescott, Am I missing something here.

  13. fh says:

    he was in the news re Guelph he worked for Marty Burke and did NOT make any Robocalls he should sue

  14. fh says:

    I am in filter but CC is Christian Conservative

  15. Bubba Brown says:

    Slightly OT Quebec student “leader” evicted for non payment of rent.

    • Joanne says:

      What? No human right to free rent? 😉

      • Jen says:

        Call on the UN ASAP. How dare that no one has come to this man’s rescue to help pay his rent. Where is Sid Ryan? Where is Mulclair? Where is the media to throw in cash for this Dubois guy.

        Dubois said that he wants the government to pay for his rent.

  16. Jen says:

    Hudak makes visit to Oilsands. Good on you Tim.

  17. Bubba Brown says:

    Yes gentle readers the student “leader” is homeless his story is he and his buddies left the rent in cash, in an envelope in an open mailbox at the entrance to his landlords office?
    The “story” was not believable to a judge.
    I see the Montreal Police have finally started to kick some butt, about time.
    This is the response that should have happened the first week.
    Break the law, get charged, go to jail.
    Real simple.
    The students have shown absouletly no mercy to any Police officers that they have been able to isolate and swarm.
    Covering your face is a criminal act, if their cause is so just why do they cover their faces.

  18. Mary T says:

    More on landslide Annie. Her supporters were putting out a full page ad with names and pics of all org, law firms etc who were supporting her. An org I was a board member of got the request to help sponsor said ad. Letter said it would cost x dollars and have our orgs name on it. After the election we would received a “donation” from her campaign team, or the liberal party. This donation would reimburse us for our cost of the ad. In and out in other words. Our board voted on this and I was against it, and managed to convince the board not to support it. When the ad run I was suspect of every person/org named.

  19. Mary T says:

    OT, Diane Finlay making announcement re changes to EI. Has she got a new hairdo.

  20. Bubba Brown says:

    OT Joanne but has anyone seen this.
    More messes from the Liberals to clean up.
    Gas just hit $ 1.50 a liter here I think I am gonna stay home this summer.

  21. Jen says:

    Tim Hudak speaks from Calgary to Kristy Erickson. No negative comments from Tim is a good thing for Ontarians.

    • frmgrl says:

      Good for Mr. Hudak. Has Dalton McGuinty visited the oilsands yet? I noticed Mulcair is coming soon. Will he be bringing Megan Leslie along on the tour?
      What about Jean Charest?

      • Mary T says:

        I sort of think Charest is busy, but he might want an excuse to leave Que for a while. Mulcair is coming tomorrow, should be interesting, hope he keeps his eyes and ears open. Maybe all those easteners working in Fort Mac will form a welcoming committee. lol
        Wonder if any of those striking terrorists in training in Que will ever make 60,000/yr without a university education, or even with one.

  22. Martin says:

    Here is the latest from Post Media’s M&M. concerning the CPC move to disallow the Council of Canadians (Maude Barlow) from overturning election results in 7 more ridings. As the blog comments say in many consensus sites, only 11 more to go to get a proper government appointed. This is scary stuff, didn’t expect it here but this is happening all right. The coalition still lives?

  23. ed says:

    “Gas just hit $ 1.50 a liter here I think I am gonna stay home this summer.”

    Bubba, $1.37 a liter here in Montreal today. As for what’s happening here, it’s a total farce. Heard one union leader say he hopes students in the rest of Canada will protest also. Wonderful, eh. I believe there’s one underlying cause for all this crap: socialism. Unions really screwed up England back in the 60’s and 70’s. The scenario on the docks back then apparently was one hell of a mess. Don’t want to sound paranoid but I think there is a concerted effort from all corners to change the system we have here. PM Harper is probably a major target as the lefties attempt to overthrow our style of government. Anarchy, that’s what we’re experiencing here.

  24. jon says:

    I’m still waiting for the Media Party to hold the McGuinty Liberals — now that they’ve been in gov’t and have been for nearly 10 years — to what they demanded of the previous Tory gov’t of Mike Harris when it came to gas prices.

    Ontario Hansard – 15-June2000
    Mr Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence): Today, sadly, gas prices in Ontario have reached new record highs; they’ve almost reached 80 cents per litre-scandalous.
    For nearly a year now, since last July when gas was 50 cents a litre, I have been asking the Premier to do something on behalf of Ontarians. I’ve been asking for a temporary freeze much like his predecessor, Bill Davis, did in 1975.

    Back in July, the Premier dismissed my call for a gas freeze, saying, “Why would we freeze prices at an all-time high of 59 cents?” Now, as you know, it’s about 79 cents.

    When it comes to gas prices, Mike Harris is all talk and no action. He blames and finger-points and bellyaches and moans but continues to do absolutely nothing to protect Ontario motorists and consumers.

    At the same time, Mike Harris is in cahoots with the big oil companies, collecting nearly $3 billion a year in gas taxes from Ontario motorists.

    That last part I love the most, considering that Colle and his Libs have slapped on the HST to the price at the pumps.

    I don’t expect Colle to mea culpa. He’s a partisan politician and part of a lying Lib gov’t to boot. But what of the media? Why are they not demanding Colle do what he demanded of the Tories a decade ago, namely lowering the excise tax from 14 to 10 cents? My main criticms goes to CTV, owners of the Toronto-based CP24 news channel, where Mr. Colle was a featured guest on a weekly program called “Gas Busters” in which CP24 allowed him to use the show as a platform to spew partisan positions without challenge.

    If CTV and CP24 have any credibility whatsoever they will remind Ontarians of the Libs’ position in opposition and hold them to account now that they’re in gov’t… especially whenever that network does yet another news report on angry motorists fed up with high gas prices, which I’m getting sick of watching because they know full well of what the Libs’ position was but pretending that they don’t.

  25. Gabby in QC says:

    Re: the Thursday update to the Wrzesnewskyj story.
    Instead of drawing little hearts, Wrzesnewskyj’s supporters should have marked their ballots appropriately to make sure that their vote counted.
    “To the voters who sketched hearts next to Borys Wrzesnewskyj’s name on their election ballot a couple weeks ago — the former Liberal MP is very flattered.
    “I appreciate the sentiment,” said Wrzesnewskyj, laughing. “Unfortunately, those ballots weren’t counted.”

    As I posted a few days ago at Iceman’s blog, Wrzesnewskyj’s support had been decreasing with every election after his initial win. Take a look at the results:
    From Wiki Etobicoke-Centre results.
    2000: Liberals 26,083 votes 56.4% of the vote +1.8% change from previous election
    2004: Liberals 30,441 votes 58.3% +1.9% Borys Wrzesnewskyj

    Conservatives 14,829 votes 28.4% -10.2% 

    2006: Liberals 29,509 votes 52.4% -5.9% Borys Wrzesnewskyj

    Conservatives 18,702 votes 33.2% +4.8

    2008: Liberals 24,537 votes 48.9% -3.5% Borys Wrzesnewskyj

    Conservatives 18,839 votes 37.5% +4.3
    2011: Liberals 21,618 votes 41.2% -7.7%

    Conservatives 21,644 votes 41.2% +3.7% Ted Opitz

    Notice that since his initial win in 2004, Borys Wrzesnewskyj lost ground in every ensuing election, losing 17.1% of the vote (8823 fewer votes since his first election). Why the guy thinks the riding belongs to him shows how arrogant he is.

    • Joanne says:

      Great research Gabby! And yes he does seem to be arrogant – and disingenuous.

      • Fay says:

        He is certainly full of himself. I was surprised to read that his lawyer were allowed into Elections Canada files and even allowed to photo copy ballots. Is this standard procedure for every defeated candidate?

  26. Liz J says:

    Mr Borys Wrzesnewskyj needs a more decisive hammering at the polls to quell his arrogance and feeling of entitlement to hold that seat.

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