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Guelph chapter calls for investigation into election fraud to be re-opened

Guelph chapter activist Norah Chaloner.

Guelph chapter activist Norah Chaloner.

Earlier this week, former Conservative Party staffer Michael Sona was sentenced to nine months in jail for his role in the 2011 federal election robocalls scandal. In August, Sona was found guilty of willfully preventing or endeavouring to prevent voters from casting a ballot in Guelph. Some 6,700 automated calls (robocalls) were made to non-Conservative voters in Guelph on May 2, 2011 telling them to go to a non-existent polling station.

Justice Gary Hearn also suggested there was evidence that Sona did not act alone in this crime.

QMI Agency reports, “Critics of the Conservative government say the case was a small part of a broader fraud in the 2011 election, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government re-elected with a majority. …The Council of Canadians, which supported legal challenges of the 2011 election results in six ridings across Canada, said [an] investigation should focus on who accessed the Conservative Party database for voter information used to make the calls. …Elections Canada, the federal agency responsible for running elections, received complaints about misleading phone calls in 247 of Canada’s 308 districts in 2011, but concluded in April there was not enough evidence to prove an offence had been committed, with the exception of the Sona case.”

Council of Canadians democracy campaigner Dylan Penner says, “Justice Hearn has applied a sentence that reflects the seriousness of these crimes, but he also made it clear in his verdict that the ringleaders are still roaming free. So as long as the main perpetrators of the widespread 2011 election fraud remain at large, what’s to prevent them from striking again in the next election?”

The Guelph Mercury adds, “Norah Chaloner is chair of the Guelph chapter of the Council of Canadians. The group has advocated for additional investigation of the case. Chaloner said she also doesn’t believe Sona acted alone. ‘The ringleaders are still out there and we’re looking at an election within the next few months probably. We’re still at risk, seriously, of having a fraudulent election again’, she said. ‘It’s a terrible thing when the public loses faith in the quality of the people who are running for political power. It weakens the fabric of our community totally’, she said.”

The Council of Canadians continues to call on the Commissioner of Canada Elections to re-open the investigation into the 2011 election fraud.

The next federal election is expected to take place on October 19, 2015.

For more on our democracy campaign, please click here.