Failure to Blow

Or why the Conservative Party’s refusal to call for a judicial inquiry into election fraud is de facto guilt.

“We saw with the in-and-out scheme, when the Conservatives were brought up on charges, they basically counter-sued Elections Canada and fought it all the way to the Supreme Court,” he said.

“They are using Elections Canada because they can bully them and they can push back. They cannot do that with an independent probe.”

In a situation where a majority government has the determining say on its own electoral legitimacy, failure to blow in the form of rejecting a judicial/royal inquiry when serious accusations of election fraud are presented, should be considered an admission of guilt. This, everyone can agree on. It is whether the criteria for ‘serious’ has been met in the case of Canada’s 2011 federal election that appears to be holding up the process.

It shouldn’t.

The accusations are beyond serious. While the newspapers, and Conservative Party talking points are focused on Guelph, the actual accusations of election fraud are coming in from around Canada. My own estimates, show about 80 disparate ridings with a number of startling pieces of evidence. Worse, Elections Canada does not appear at all to be up to the job of an investigation of this importance

“But despite support from the Tories in that Commons vote, opposition parties are not convinced the government actually will fulfil the non-binding motion’s call for legislation within six months to beef up Elections Canada’s powers.”

One poll has suggested that 75% of the country want an independent inquiry.This country had a Royal Commission setup for a comparatively minor patronage scandal and the stakes are much higher in this circumstance. Just the cost of the by-elections alone would dwarf the sponsorship scandal, nevermind the political and economic ramifications of having an illegitimate government run the country for almost a year.

So what is a Royal Commission?

A Royal Commissioner has considerable powers, generally greater even than those of a judge but restricted to the “Terms of Reference” of the Commission. The Commission is created by the Head of State (the Sovereign, or his/her representative in the form of a Governor-General or Governor) on the advice of the Government and formally appointed by Letters Patent. In practice—unlike lesser forms of inquiry—once a Commission has started the government cannot stop it. Consequently governments are usually very careful about framing the Terms of Reference and generally include in them a date by which the commission must finish.
Royal Commissions are called to look into matters of great importance and usually controversy. These can be matters such as government structure, the treatment of minorities, events of considerable public concern or economic questions.

Whether you’re a Liberal or not (I’m not), please do sign this petition.

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