The principle of free and fair elections is one of democracy’s most fundamental tenets. As your Member of Parliament, I am dismayed that misleading and harassing phone calls were made during the 2011 election to discourage Liberal Party supporters from voting. The use of fraudulent and deceptive techniques not only interferes with your right to vote, it may be illegal.
Stephen Harper’s Conservative campaigns paid for the services of several companies at the centre of this nation-wide scandal concerning hundreds of thousands of fraudulent phone calls in dozens of ridings. The RCMP and Elections Canada are investigating, with the latter already having received over 31,000 complaints from across the country, including Vancouver Quadra. Former Elections Canada Chief Jean-Pierre Kingsley has called this historic and deliberate fraud campaign “a direct affront to the very foundation of our system,” and believes that the perpetrators should go to jail.
The Conservative Party recently pleaded guilty to an “in-and-out” financing scam it employed in the 2006 election. And this past fall, Conservative-funded robo-calls were made into Liberal MP Irwin Cotler’s riding to spread the false rumour that he had—or intended to—resign. These tactics support the concern that the 2011 election fraud was a deliberate Conservative strategy to deter Liberal voters.
Canadians’ trust in Canada’s democracy and government is at a critical low. Sadly, the 2011 election fraud will only worsen the situation. Low trust discourages people from voting, which in turn further undermines engagement in our democracy—it’s a vicious circle that YOU can help stop.
I ask you to be part of the solution and to consider three actions to safeguard democracy:
• Reclaim your democracy by contacting my office at email@example.com and engaging in some of our many informational events and consultations on key issues, bills, and policies.
• Protect your right to vote by filing a complaint with Elections Canada at www.elections.ca or http://www.liberal.ca/election-fraud-watch – if you received bizarre or misleading calls during the 2011 federal election campaign.
• Exercise your right to vote in the next federal election, whatever the challenges may be!
Joyce Murray, MP