Friday, August 10, 2012

Screw $250K... Make it a Million

Those among the left who were previously salivating over the Council of Canadians' court case to have the election 2011 results of seven ridings -- "coincidentally" all of them won by Conservative candidates -- must ever so slowly be coming to the realization that the meal they've been anticipating probably isn't coming.

Perhaps some of them are still fooling themselves. For one thing, they're pretending to be shocked that lawyers representing the Conservative Party are asking for a $250,000 deposit on any costs they may incur while defending against this case. CoC chair Maude Barlow, unshockingly, thinks it's awful. Just awful.

"While these relentless obstructions by the Conservative Party continue to drive up legal costs, they will not dampen our resolve to defend democracy and restore voters' rights," Barlow insisted.

But in reality, the $250,000 isn't enough. Moving forward, the court should reject the Tories' bid to impose a $250,000 deposit on the Council of Canadians... in favour of a million dollar deposit. I think of it as the court's very subtle way of saying "fuck off" to a case that shouldn't be heard at this juncture in the first place.

Barlow can pretend this case is about "restoring voters' rights" as much as she wants. But the fact is that the Council of Canadians has made this case a complete and utter farce from the very beginning.

To start with, Canadians should have expected CoC to have collected enough evidence to pursue this case before filing the case. However, CoC recently petitioned Elections Canada to provide them with the evidence Elections Canada is using in their own investigation of the so-called "robocalls" scandal, including those that allegedly took place within these seven ridings. Bad news for Council of Canadians. It turns out that this effort to find additional evidence -- not to submit evidence they already have, but to dig up more evidence -- comes after the June deadline to submit evidence.

There's simply no getting around it: this move is an admission by the Council of Canadians that they do not have, and have never had, sufficient evidence to win this case and overturn these election results.

And it just got worse.

The call centre at the centre of CoC's case -- the call centre wherein misdirecting calls were allegedly made -- has submitted an affidavit to the court stating that they have records that show some of the principle evidence around which the CoC case is based -- more specifically, an affidavit from a cell centre worker -- may not be accurate.

No wonder the Council of Canadians is out digging for more evidence.

So what does all of this have to do with requiring a $1 million deposit from the Council of Canadians? That's very simple.

Elections Canada is still investigating the allegations in these seven ridings. The Council of Canadians case is really nothing more than an end-run around that investigation -- hoping to get a court to rule that the evidence in this matter is more convincing than Elections Canada may find it to be.

If any group, of any political affiliation, wants to attempt end-runs around Elections Canada, it should be very expensive to do. In fact, prohibitively expensive. If Elections Canada concludes its investigation, and CoC is unconvinced, that's one thing. But what the Council of Canadians is at risk of doing is usurping Elections Canada's role as Canada's elections watchdog.

This cannot be allowed to do so. And in order to deter groups like Council of Canadians from trying such things in the future, the court should ask them to pony up a million bucks, or fuck right off.

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