Robocalls: another blow to the brand

Last week, Federal Court judge Richard Mosley handed down his decision in a lawsuit led by the Council of Canadians against the Conservative Party of Canada, in the so-called robocalls case.

Last week, Federal Court judge Richard Mosley handed down his decision in a lawsuit led by the Council of Canadians against the Conservative Party of Canada, in the so-called robocalls case. Though he found that there was an attempt by someone to subvert the last federal election by preventing non-Conservatives from voting, evidence that the attempt succeeded was inconclusive. After the decision was made public, Yukon MP Ryan Leef told reporters he felt vindicated.

The Concise Oxford defines vindicate as “clear of blame or suspicion.” Leef finds vindication in Mosley’s ruling that, although somebody with access to closely-guarded Conservative Party records attempted election fraud on their behalf, there was no proof that the attempt succeeded, or that candidates or their agents were directly involved in the crime.

Let us pause for a moment to admire Mr. Leef’s capacity for self-vindication. Judge Mosley found that somebody used the CIMS database – accessible only by a tightly-controlled Conservative inner circle – to prevent voters from reaching the polls, after they had identified themselves to party canvassers as non-supporters. In the Yukon, survey data indicates that 36 per cent of all voters received robocalls intended to direct them to the wrong polling station. As a measure of comparison, Leef’s share of the vote was 32.7 per cent.

When the robocalls story broke, the Conservatives went into full lock-down mode, doing everything in their power to prevent the facts from coming out. This Tuesday Marc Meyrand, Canada’s chief electoral officer, told the House of Commons procedure and House affairs committee that the Conservatives took three months to respond to an initial request for facts surrounding the case. Meyrand later pointed to a pattern of Conservative Party workers either refusing to co-operate with his investigation, or agreeing to interviews and then canceling at the last minute.

In his judgment Mosley observed a similar pattern, complaining that “the stance taken by the respondent MPs from the outset was to block these proceedings by any means.” It began when lawyers for Leef and his fellow defendants tried to stop the trial before it began with a motion that the suit was “frivolous and contemptuous.” They tried repeatedly to have the case thrown out on such obscure and inapplicable grounds as “champerty and maintenance” and asserted that it would “interfere with the case timetable” to ask Elections Canada for details behind 800 complaints of fraudulent calls.

This week the Hill Times is reporting that Conservative caucus members are feeling “horrifically depressed” about the other big Conservative scandal in the news this week, the Senate expenses cover-up. According to an anonymous insider, “It’s hurting the government, it’s a distraction. It’s hurting the Conservative brand and the party more than the government because it’s a fundamental to who we are as Conservatives. It’s a blow to the brand because we actually care. We came to Ottawa to fix this.”

There is a mystery here. We know that the members of the Conservative caucus are so sensitive as to be driven to horrific depression over the cover-up of a case of expense-fudging. How do they preserve their mental health in the face of news that their party is implicated in massive election fraud?

Is Mike Duffy’s creative accounting really a bigger distraction than the attempt to steal a general election? Isn’t tampering with the vote as much of a blow to the brand as writing questionable cheques? Or is it that in this case, they don’t actually care?

In the aftermath of Mosley’s ruling, Leef told the Yukon News, “I was really clear when this all broke that I didn’t think that this case was going to answer the questions that Canadians deserve answers to.” Could this be because he knew that the Conservative Party would use all of its power to block the facts of the case from coming to light? As Leef went on to say, “Here we sit, a full year later, having the exact same questions we had when this was first undertaken.”

What he didn’t say is that his party is sitting on the answers.

Al Pope won the Canadian Community Newspaper Award for best columnist in 2013. He also won the Ma Murray Award for Best Columnist in B.C./Yukon in 2010 and 2002.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read