Really, they're not
Score on for Elections Canada.
Yes, for Elections Canada, not for the mob of would-be citizen prosecutors who want to rush Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party into jail on the basis of accusations alone.
Yesterday, Elections Canada released its ruling in the case of a complaint regarding an Ohio-based company called Front Porch Technologies. As it turns out, Front Porch Technologies had some role in the 2011 election for Conservative MP Rick Dykstra.
According to Democracy Watch, and numerous other left-wing complainers, this violates section 331 of the Canada Elections Act. This prohibits non-residents inducing Canadian voters to vote for or against any particular candidate.
"The information described in [the] complaint, found on internet or news stories, indicates that the activity complained of was of very limited duration, and suggests that the purpose of the individuals' presence in Canada may have been partly or primarily to promote their business interests," Elections Canada responded. "No complaint to this office provided a basis to believe that any elector was actually induced or affected in their voting behaviour due to the activity complained of."
Predictably, Democracy Watch didn't like the ruling. They declared it to be "legally incorrect."
But when examining the complaint presented by Democracy Watch more thoroughly, it actually turns out that the Elections Canada ruling is indisputably correct. Simply put, the complaint presents insufficient evidence to determine that any wrongdoing took place, or that the wrongdoing complained of was even what they insisted it was.
The evidence submitted to Elections Canada basically consisted of the following: tweets by the Front Porch Technologies Twitter account, and a photo of Front Porch Technologies President Matt Parker talking on the phone at Julian Fantino's campaign office.
They insist that all of this is concrete evidence that Front Porch Technologies, and the campaigns that employed them, violated section 331 of the Elections Act. But hold on.
The photo of Matt Parker was simply of him talking on the phone. No one actually knows who he was talking to. Certainly, he could have been talking to a voter. Maybe. But he could just as easily been talking to a volunteer, someone else involved in the campaign, or even someone at Front Porch Technologies HQ in Ohio. Certainly, the Front Porch Technologies Twitter account tweeted that they were "taking Toronto by storm," and made references to door knocking, but none referring to Matt Parker, or any other non-Canadian resident actually doing any such door-knocking themselves.
Both of these things can be quite easily explained away by the suggestion -- or, rather, the likelihood -- that Front Porch Technologies was providing consulting services. It's not illegal for election campaigns in Canada to contract such services from American firms. For their own part, the Liberal Party knows this well: they've had decades of involvement with US consulting firms -- more notably, the ones that tend to provide services to the Democratic Party.
Certainly, the evidence presented by Democracy Watch is enough to suggest that there's a possibility that Parker was improperly involved in election campaigns during the 2011 election. But it doesn't demonstrate indisputably that Parker was. No matter how badly Democracy Watch may want it to, it just doesn't.
There are a lot of left-wing demagogues running about the blogosphere and the Twitterverse claiming that this ruling is evidence that Elections Canada cannot be trusted to investigate complaints involving the Conservative Party. All it shows is that Elections Canada did not choose to inflate the evidence presented in this complaint so as to treat it as if it were something that it wasn't.
It says so much about a lof the allegations, and the way they're being treated by the Canadian left. First off, it shows us that the left is more than willing to inflate very sparse evidence into something far more conclusive than it really is. Secondly, it shows us that the left has very rarely risen among the level of mere presumption of guilt. Thirdly, and more importantly, it shows us that the left is already preparing itself to reject any conclusions by Elections Canada that don't simply find the Conservative Party guilty of anything the left may care to accuse it of.
Once upon a time, criticizing Elections Canada was unthinkable. Even when Elections Canada was going after Conservatives for something the Liberals were doing also -- the so-called in-and-out "scandal" -- or tipping the media so they could be present at raids of the Conservative Party offices, Elections Canada was proclaimed, by the left, to be above reproach.
Now, suddenly that they aren't getting everything their way, the left is declaring Elections Canada to be moribund and corrupt. Which just goes to show precisely how shallow their regard for Canada's election watchdog is, and just what they imagine the roll of Elections Canada to be:
They don't imaigne Elections Canada's role to be conducting elections for the good of all Canadian people; they imagine Elections Canada to be their own private cudgel, beating down Conservatives whenever the opportunity may arise.