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Fraud found in robocalls case; Supreme Court appeal being considered

The Federal Court has released its decision in the robocalls case. The decision vindicates the applicants' concerns, as the judge concludes that "fraud occurred in the 2011 Federal Election" though he did not annul the results. This finding about fraud being widespread raises the gravest concerns about the 2011 election process, says the Council of Canadians.

The decision states that "The calls struck at the integrity of the electoral process by attempting to dissuade voters from casting ballots for their preferred candidates." Additional excerpts from the decision are included below.

“This is a victory for the individual applicants, for the thousands of donors who stepped up to pay their legal bills, and for Canadian democracy,” said Garry Neil, Executive Director of the Council of Canadians. “A senior Federal Court judge found that the election was marred by widespread fraudulent activities, not just in Guelph but across the country.”

The Council of Canadians is consulting with the applicants and lawyers as they consider an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. If these consultations conclude there is a chance the Supreme Court could overturn the Conservative MPs’ narrow victories, the Council would pay the necessary legal fees. The organization is calling on Canadians to donate for that purpose at http://canadians.org/democracy247.

“Perhaps the greatest victory of this case is the awareness it created among Canadian voters,” said Neil. “No political party will dare try to trick us out of our votes this way again.”



[244] I am satisfied that is has been established that misleading calls about the locations of polling stations were made to electors in ridings across the country, including the subject ridings, and that the purpose of those calls was to suppress the votes of electors who had indicated their voting preference in response to earlier voter identification calls.

(245) … I am satisfied, however, that the most likely source of the information used to make the misleading calls was the CIMS database maintained and controlled by the (Conservative Party of Canada), accessed for that purpose by a person or persons currently unknown to this Court.

[260] I am mindful of the fact that in this instance the applicants have received guarantees of indemnification by a non-governmental organization which has been raising funds for that purpose. But it is also apparent that the respondent MPs are supported by the resources of the party to which they belong, resources which are underwritten by taxpayers.

[261] These proceedings have had partisan overtones from the outset. That was particularly evident in the submissions of the respondent MPs. In reviewing the procedural history and the evidence and considering the arguments advanced by the parties at the hearing, it has seemed to me that the applicants sought to achieve and hold the high ground of promoting the integrity of the electoral process while the respondent MPs engaged in trench warfare in an effort to prevent this case from coming to a hearing on the merits.

[262] Despite the obvious public interest in getting to the bottom of the allegations, the CPC made little effort to assist with the investigation at the outset despite early requests. I note that counsel for the CPC was informed while the election was taking place that the calls about polling station changes were improper. While it was begrudgingly conceded during oral argument that what occurred was “absolutely outrageous”, the record indicates that the stance taken by the respondent MPs from the outset was to block these proceedings by any means.