NDP Complaint Against Elections Canada
The Problem Lies with Cartel Party System Which Disempowers Canadians
– Anna Di Carlo –
The Canadian Press (CP) reports the NDP has filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Canada Elections about “numerous and systemic failures of election officials” in the 2021 Election. In a statement to CP, NDP National Director Anne McGrath states: “Elections Canada failed their responsibility to ensure the enfranchisement of all voters, even and especially those in low-income communities, those living in Indigenous and rural/remote communities, and those living with disabilities.” She says, “these systemic failures by Elections Canada to make sure every person in Canada can participate in our process contravenes the Elections Act and must be addressed.” She added, the mistakes have “done serious damage to the confidence of Canadians in our electoral system.”
With or without the filing of a complaint, the Canada Elections Act requires the Chief Electoral Officer to “engage an auditor that he or she considers to have technical or specialized knowledge — other than a member of his or her staff or an election officer — to perform an audit and report on whether election officers have properly exercised any of the powers conferred on them under this Act, or properly performed any of the duties imposed on them under this Act, that are specified by the Chief Electoral Officer.” What is to be accomplished by engaging the Commissioner of Canada Elections is questionable.
According to CP, “The party says it ‘understood the pressure Elections Canada’ was under to run an election ‘during a public health crisis.’ But McGrath says the agency’s job was to ‘make it easier for people to vote, not harder.'”
For the 2021 Federal Election, Elections Canada set up 7,300 advance polling stations, and 61,400 “voting desks” on polling day. It processed slightly more than one million mail-in ballots. It opened 501 offices and hired approximately 215,000 election workers.
To compare, for the 2019 Federal Election, called according to the fixed-date in the election law, Elections Canada set up 6,166 advance polls and a total of 64,671 polling stations. No doubt, “voting desks” versus “polling stations” (i.e. locations with several voting desks) resulted in longer line-ups and inconvenience for voters.
Nevertheless, any objective observer would have to respect Elections Canada having pulled off the election, given the Liberal Party calling a snap-election with the shortest possible campaign and arrogantly dismissing the Chief Electoral Officer’s request for the longest, 50 days versus 36. This is besides the collective irresponsibility of the cartel parties which refused to adopt electoral law amendments requested by Elections Canada in the event of a pandemic election.
The list of difficulties is multi-fold. The election law, for instance, does not allow Returning Officers to rent offices and polling locations based on election speculation. Seniors who commonly fill the election jobs were not willing to work during the fourth wave of the pandemic. Traditionally used school and church locations were not available. Facilities needed to allow for physical-distancing. Locations such as condominium lobbies, for example, were out of the picture. Special kiosks on the campuses were foregone by Elections Canada in light of the fact that it was not even certain that students would be physically returning to the campuses.
Who is responsible for the resulting problems faced by the electorate?
In another report — a CBC item about the NDP reviewing its campaign and failure to increase its seats — McGrath suggests the party’s performance was affected by a calculated voter-suppression tactic by the Liberal Party. She told CBC “Part of the reason for having the election at this time was to keep the turnout numbers low in order to re-elect the incumbent government. I do believe that young voters and Indigenous voters, in particular, were disenfranchised.”
Who then should be investigated? A party that the NDP suggests called an election with voter suppression as a factor in its campaign strategy? Or the agency that had to shoulder the burden of administering the allegedly horrendously-motivated election?
The MLPC concludes the problem lies with the cartel party system which disempowers all Canadians as well as with the cartel parties which only snivel when the arrangements based on power and privilege do not specifically favour them. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Liberal Party of Canada takes decisions on the basis of self-serving calculations. If conflict of interest and irresponsibility mean anything, an inquiry could be called to determine why this wasteful snap election was called in the first place and make them pay $610 million in reparations. But the cartel parties have no interest in any inquiry which reaches the warranted conclusion that the entire electoral law is not in accord with the requirements of the times.
The MLPC carries out ongoing investigation into the electoral and political process dominated by a self-serving, corrupt cartel of parties which run campaigns intended to manipulate the vote so that they can win seats. Having an electorate has become an obstacle to their power-seeking schemes. Only those whose interest is to solve problems facing the country by empowering the people to take the decisions which affect their lives should be trusted.