Robo-Call: Budget gets cut during investigation

The Federal government plans on cutting Elections Canada’s budget by eight percent. The department is in charge of investigating the 2011 election fraud case, colloquially known as the “Robo-Call Scandal,” among other names.

The cuts have outraged leaders of the federal opposition parties as well as academics, average citizens and everyone concerned about the state of democracy in this country. The effects of these cuts are significant because they are not just cutting  a government department, they are undermining the quality and standards of democracy in Canada. 

The Robo-Call Scandal occurred in 2011 during the federal election, when it was discovered that electors in the Guelph region were receiving phone calls from Elections Canada telling them that their polling stations had changed, and directing them to new ones.

Upon investigation from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in conjunction with Elections Canada it was discovered that the calls originated from a cell phone registered to the now infamous false name “Pierre Poutine.”  It was soon discovered the elections fraud extended to every province and one territory.

In a May 13th article by the Canadian Press, and published in the National Post titled “Harper Under Fire For Elections Canada Budget Cuts Rampant Voting Problems,”  leader for the Federal NDP party Thomas Mulcair shows concern regarding the government's honesty in elections. 

“The Conservatives [..] show a consistent willingness to cheat during elections.”

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau is also concerned about the budget cuts, and believes it could be a negative pattern perpetuated by the Conservatives.

“ [The budget cuts are] worrying and part of a pattern by Conservatives to discourage people from taking part in the democratic process.”

Both leaders of the opposition parties have reason for concern. Mr. Harper’s actions, if not malicious, are at the absolute very least incredibly irresponsible and bad PR for his party. What is more likely, albeit very disheartening is that perhaps Mr. Harper hopes these budget cuts will distract the department currently investigating his party for voter suppression and elections fraud. Let’s remind him that our collective attention span is better than that, by keeping public pressure high to make sure a full Elections Canada report is given, and necessary charges laid.


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