August 28, 2011

How does a cheater win?

Posted in Democracy for All!, Leadership tagged , at 2:19 pm by CrystalineGoddess

I have been questioning some of Stephen Harper’s actions for a while now, and after the last election I contacted The Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections. This is how that discussion is progressing;

From me;

Stephen Harper clearly cheated- campaigning on the radio on election
day. You can’t win by cheating, therefore he is NOT the Prime
Minister! I expect this matter to be dealt with according to the
rules. I don’t know how he is allowed to continue being a politician
considering his total disregard for the rules, as an example;
proroguing parliament so many times to avoid losing his place. I’ve
been a proud Canadian since I was a child. Now, thanks to him, being a
Canadian is starting to lose its luster.

From them;

Thank you for your message to Elections Canada, in which you complain about a radio talk show interview of Stephen Harper on polling day, May 2, 2011.  During this interview, in which Mr. Harper was discussing the death of Osama Bin Laden, Mr. Harper encouraged people to vote Conservative. Your concern is that this violated rules about campaign activities on polling day.

The Canada Elections Act does not prohibit all campaign activity on polling day.  The prohibition is directed only to the transmission of “election advertising” and then only to certain types of election advertising. This radio interview is not “election advertising.”

The Canada Elections Act recognizes that not all communication to the public that is from or about a political party or candidate during an election period will be subject to the Act or will constitute “election advertising,” a term that is defined in the Act.

The definition of “election advertising” at section 319 of the Act contains exclusions.  Among other things, the definition explicitly excludes “the transmission to the public of an editorial, a debate, a speech, an interview, a column, a letter, a commentary or news”.  This recognizes the important role played by the communication media in democratic debate.

The information available to us is that the comment by Mr. Harper occurred as part of a media interview.  This activity, therefore, does not fall within the definition of election advertising or offend any other provision of the Canada Elections Act.

We do thank you, however, for bringing this matter to our attention and for your interest in the electoral process.

The Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections

My response;

I am not saying that the interview violates the legislation as clearly it does not; I am saying that the comment which was not prompted by the interviewer and in fact quickly corrected by said interviewer is what violates the legislation. I have highlighted in blue the part of the interview that illustrates my point.  Mr. Harper was clearly using the interview to cover his tracks.

Your point;

Definitions

319. The definitions in this section apply in this Part.

“election advertising”

« publicité électorale »

“election advertising” means the transmission to the public by any means during an election period of an advertising message that promotes or opposes a registered party or the election of a candidate, including one that takes a position on an issue with which a registered party or candidate is associated. For greater certainty, it does not include

  • (a) the transmission to the public of an editorial, a debate, a speech, an interview, a column, a letter, a commentary or news;

Pasted from <http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=res&dir=loi/fel/cea&document=part16&lang=e&anchor=sec319>

My point;

2. What is “election advertising”?

“Election advertising” is defined in section 319 of the Canada Elections Act. “Election advertising” may be interpreted as a message that is:

  • transmitted by any means during an election
  • transmitted to any person or persons with whom the originator of the message does not have some common cause or connection, and
  • intended to influence how an elector might vote, by promoting or opposing a registered party or the election of a candidate, including a message that takes a position on an issue with which a registered party or candidate is associated

However, the above should be interpreted as a general guide. The actual definition of “election advertising” should be reviewed in order to determine if any particular message would constitute election advertising for the purposes of the Canada Elections Act.

Pasted from <http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=pol&document=index&dir=thi/que&lang=e

Legislation;

495(5) Every person is guilty of an offence who contravenes

  • (a) subsection 321(1) (conducting election advertising using government means of transmission) or subsection 323(1) (conducting election advertising during blackout period); or
  • (b) subsection 328(1) (causing transmission of election survey results during blackout period).

Offences under Part 17 (Third Party Election Advertising)

Strict liability offences – summary conviction

Pasted from <http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=res&dir=loi/fel/cea&document=part19&lang=e&anchor=sec495>

Blackout period

323. (1) No person shall knowingly transmit election advertising to the public in an electoral district on polling day before the close of all of the polling stations in the electoral district.

Interpretation

(2) The transmission to the public of a notice of an event that the leader of a registered party intends to attend or an invitation to meet or hear the leader of a registered party is not election advertising for the purpose ofsubsection (1).

Definition of “person”

(3) For the purpose of subsection (1), a person includes a registered party and a group within the meaning of Part 17.

Exceptions

324. Subsection 323(1) does not apply in respect of

  • (a) the transmission of a message that was transmitted to the public on what is commonly known as the Internet before the blackout period described in that subsection and that was not changed during that period; or
  • (b) the distribution during that period of pamphlets or the posting of messages on signs, posters or banners.

S.C. 2001, c. 21, s. 16.

Prohibition – prevention or impairment of transmission

Pasted from <http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=res&dir=loi/fel/cea&document=part16&lang=e

So I read this as; interviews are exempt from this law and he must intend to sway the election even outside of that. I believe the following article and audio file (YouTube link) clearly state my point;

Stephen Harper breaks election rules, campaigns on radio on election day

Jeromie Williams

, Canada Headlines Examiner

May 2, 2011

In an interview this morning with Bill Good on CKNW in Vancouver, Stephen Harper openly campaigned for the Conservative Party of Canada, asking listeners to “vote Conservative” in defiance of Elections Canada rules and regulations that state no campaigning may be done during the media blackout on election day.

During the interview Stephen Harper contravined the Elections Canada Act by stating that “It is certain that I will vote, and I encourage all other people to vote, and I encourage people to do the same as me and vote Conservative.”

The host of the CKNW call in radio show, Bill Good, was quick to reply to listeners that “We encourage you to vote too, but we encourage you to vote whichever way you feel is appropriate.”

Sections 480 to 499 of the Elections Canada Act detail prohibited activites by candidates during the imposed media blackout on election day in Canada.

Sections 480 to 499 of the Canada Elections Act list the offence provisions, categorized according to whether intent is required, and the burden of proof required to prosecute them.

Read more; 

http://www.examiner.com/canada-headlines-in-canada/stephen-harper-breaks-election-rules-campaigns-on-radio-on-election-day#ixzz1LIQrZdOy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrT8K49fyuo

Also, nothing has been done about any of his other transgressions, such as proroguing parliament multiple times.  I appreciate your position in all of this, however Mr. Harper is getting away with far too many questionable activities.

Thank you.

Complaints and reports regarding this breach of the Elections Canada Act may be reported to the Commissioner of Canada Elections by email at commissionersoffice@elections.ca.

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