Dr. Dawg

Canadian democracy tomorrow

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In a local Ottawa bar, a brass plaque on the wall announces “Free Beer Tomorrow.” Perhaps a similar plaque should be erected over the entrance of the House of Commons announcing the imminent arrival of democracy.

Elections Canada is presently investigating voting irregularities in 200 Canadian ridings. Some of this probing goes back to last April, without results.

The agency appears to be largely unaccountable. And it’s slower than a turtle trapped in a glacier.

Many of us applauded when we heard the news that Parliament’s prettiest face, Dean Del Mastro, has apparently been nailed by the intrepid EC investigators. My own pleasure, however, largely dissipated when I realized (thanks to a reader’s prod) that it had taken them four years to examine the single cheque that is at the centre of the malfeasance allegations.

Four years.

Now they’ve estimated the costs of probing Robogate: $585,000. That’s $3,418 per riding.

That would cover maybe a week’s work at most per affected constituency—and I’m trying to be generous here. I’m factoring in salaries, admin support, travel, accommodation and incidentals.

And remember: four years to report on one cheque.

At this rate, my reader suggested, we won’t get the report on Robogate until 2020. I’d say he was being wildly optimistic.

Turning now to Etobicoke Centre, frustrated voters are likely going to wait a very long time before justice is done. The Conservative incumbent Ted Opitz, who seems to have acquired his slim majority through a combination of EC incompetence and outright bullying, wants his case to be heard by the Supreme Court in October. The Court itself, worryingly, is due to rise on June 14, and could well go along with this.

That means that a ruling could come as late as next year. In the meantime, Opitz (who was the deciding vote on Jason Kenney’s refugee reform bill) will prance merrily along—despite the fact that his Liberal opponent Borys Wrzesnewskyj, robbed of victory, is now 10% ahead of him in the polls.

And that wouldn’t be the end of it, either. The Prime Minister, hardly disinterested in this affair, has six months to call a by-election. Opitz, rejected by the voters last May, and now trailing Wrzesnewskyj by an ever-widening margin, may conceivably get to “represent” the voters of Etobicoke Centre until late 2013.

Meanwhile, the Council of Canadians is gamely ploughing ahead with challenges to the results in seven other closely decided ridings where electoral dirty tricks were reported. But the Conservatives don’t want the group’s case even to be heard, and recently filed a 750-page brief to prevent it. This overstuffed screed contained snarling attacks on the CoC, as well as relying heavily on an archaic legal principle (“champerty and maintenance”) to argue that the CoC has no right to sue. Heaven forbid that the organization be allowed their day in court.

Repeated contempt of Parliament. Proroguing. The abolition of ministerial accountability. Time allocation to stifle Parliamentary debate. Kitchen-sink omnibus bills. An outrageously partisan Speaker of the House. A Senate packed to the brim with cronies, hacks and stooges. Widespread electoral malfeasance, assisted after the fact by hapless investigators and dilatory judicial manoeuvering.

Canadian democracy? Maybe tomorrow.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on June 8, 2012 12:36 PM.

If robofraud doesn't work... was the previous entry in this blog.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Opposition is the next entry in this blog.

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