Sunday, February 26, 2012

An Act of More than Minor Treason

There's only been one instance in my entire history of telephone ownership that I've received a worthwhile robocall, and that was from Amtrak letting me know that my train the next day had been cancelled because of heavy snowfall in Seattle and that there was no alternative transportation available. Every other automatic call I've been received has been a complete waste of time - though they are somewhat considerate in that they usually start with a foghorn blasting in your ear or tell you to "hold for an important announcement," meaning you can hang up almost immediately and cut your time losses down to a few seconds.

When the call is purportedly from Elections Canada in the days leading up to a major federal election, though, it's a bit difficult for some people to just hang up. So instead, in dozens of ridings voters received robocalls claiming that their polling station had been relocated. While Peterborough Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro has recently said that his own campaign was targeted by robocalls, on the whole they appear to have been targeted at close-run ridings such as Etobicoke Centre, where the Conservative challenger won with a margin of twenty-six votes. This sort of thing works: voting just isn't a priority for many people, so if they head to what they think is their new polling station and instead find nothing, a lot of folk would just say nuts to the whole thing. Wheels have already begun turning for by-elections to be held in affected ridings, which may yet jam a stick between the spokes of Harper's majority.

While Elections Canada has been investigating this for nearly a year now, after initial complaints by voters in Guelph complaining of misdirecting calls, the news cycle started to pick it up again with the discovery that at least some of these calls traced back to Racknine, an Edmonton company that has done robocall work in the past for the Conservative Party. Evidence is still coming in regarding this, and on the whole I feel it's pretty damning for the Conservatives; the Greens were focusing all of their effort on Vancouver Island, the Liberals would gain nothing from keeping people from voting for them, and none of the scenarios I can imagine for NDP involvement make very much sense at all.

Regardless of who did it, the fact remains that a campaign such as this, an active campaign to mislead and suppress and prevent voters from exercising their democratic rights, strikes at the foundation of Canada's just society. It's an attack on democracy and therefore an attack on all of us. My own viewpoint is that whoever was behind this, whoever planned it, whoever orchestrated it, and whoever carried it out, whoever they may be, deserve to be charged with treason.

Through the ages, treason has taken many forms.

The Criminal Code of Canada defines treason as follows:

(2) Every one commits treason who, in Canada,
(a) uses force or violence for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Canada or a province;
(b) without lawful authority, communicates or makes available to an agent of a state other than Canada, military or scientific information or any sketch, plan, model, article, note or document of a military or scientific character that he knows or ought to know may be used by that state for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or defence of Canada;
(c) conspires with any person to commit high treason or to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a);
(d) forms an intention to do anything that is high treason or that is mentioned in paragraph (a) and manifests that intention by an overt act; or
(e) conspires with any person to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) or forms an intention to do anything mentioned in paragraph (b) and manifests that intention by an overt act.

I'll be the first one to admit that "election fraud" isn't in there - but what is in there, under the category of high treason, is assault, kidnapping, and attempts on the life of the Queen; no surprise, considering that the continuum of treason laws stretch back centuries, and that back in the day treason was considered to be a more heinous offense even than murder.

Nevertheless, what we have here is an organized attempt to subvert the electoral process. It doesn't matter if two people were misled or twenty or two hundred, the fact of the matter is that the integrity of the democratic process must be sacrosanct if the elected government is to have any legitimacy at all. Whoever was behind the robocalling scheme isn't a traitor by the letter of the law, but to my eyes at least they are no better than a traitor. Electoral fraud isn't just some act of minor treason; whoever they are, by their actions they have undermined and compromised the democratic foundation of this country.

No matter what happens, I'm confident that the government will work to sweep this under the rug as quickly as possible and put up some scapegoat so that the people can forget about what's going on and they can go back to telling us that ignorance is strength. The fact remains that the people behind this are effectively traitors of the modern age; they are traitors against democracy and traitors against the people.

1 comment:

  1. Posting for Dwight Williams, since he's unable to...

    They'll try to sweep it under the rug.

    I can't see it happening. This is - at the least, per Michael Van Tandt in the Ottawa Citizen - their "Sponsorship Scandal" moment. Everything the New Conservatives do from this point onward becomes tainted by association.