With thanks – - the document below is brief, but contains links for those who want more information. You can scroll down and skip my commentary!
NOTE: The numbers for “How far is Harper from losing Majority Government?” are revised from the original to include the Elections Canada announcement of the Calgary Centre by-election that arises from the May 30th resignation of Conservative MP Lee Richardson: http://sandrafinley.ca/?p=5912 The prospects look even better, and it creates an interesting dynamic.
A quick look at the arguments by the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) for WHY the Court should throw out the robocall court challenge reminded me of my experience in a Psychiatric Ward. I found it funny: the world was turned upside down, a replay of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. The nut-case was the doctor. But I could not say that because it would be used as proof that I was cuckoo!
In this upside-down Harper world, the PRIME MINISTER and his Government are the ones who are supposed to understand and uphold democracy. A look at EXCERPTS FROM APPLICANTS’ MOTIONS (the Conservative Party made application) leave you laughing or shaking your head, or maybe crying! The Excerpts are halfway down on http://canadians.org/media/other/2012/14-Jun-12.html
The timing of recent developments over Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro’s alleged misdeeds will not enhance Conservative prospects in Court. Number 3 is the most recent development:
Del Mastro has been the Conservative defender on robocalls. Now we have:
- Elections Canada’s investigation of his election expense returns (in an earlier email),
- the affidavits from citizens who received $1050 in exchange for a $1000 campaign contribution (in an earlier email),
- and now the “You are a liar” allegations: “Newly filed court documents cast doubt on Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro’s repeated assertion that he was not aware he is being investigated by Elections Canada”. http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/06/21/del-mastro-campaign-workers-knew-about-elections-canada-probe-court-documents/
The CBC article includes a time-line of events related to the who-knew-what-when, the dates of phone calls, cheques, meetings: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/06/19/pol-dean-del-mastro-timeline.html?cmp=rss.
(Perhaps there are both innocent and not-so-innocent players. One hand appeared to stop the spending beyond allowable limits; the other hand appears to have subverted the attempt.)
BACK TO ROBOCALLS in COURT:
A legal phrase in the argument, new to me: “champerty and maintenance”. The Conservatives (CPC) claim that the Council of Canadians (C of C) is guilty of this offence (and so the case should be thrown out). From the on-line legal dictionary,
“Champerty is the process whereby one person bargains with a party to a lawsuit to obtain a share in the proceeds of the suit. Maintenance is the support or promotion of another person’s suit initiated by intermeddling for personal gain.”
A preposterous argument.
I have for many years thought “Thank Goodness for the Council of Canadians”. Without Maude Barlow and the Council, the door would be wide open to water privatization, and we would be without this strong voice for protection of the public sphere.
Yes, the Conservatives and many corporate players would like to see the C of C wiped off the map. The C of C has more paid-up members than any political party in Canada, by far (50,000 plus half as many more supporters who don’t have paid membership.) They work tirelessly for the public good. Their largest contribution is public education through the events and literature they distribute.
The Council is completely dependent upon donations from citizens. They don’t take Government or Corporate or other money. The Court Case is doing exactly what the Conservatives want: running them out of money. Most individual citizens simply cannot afford on their own to take matters to Court. Even by pooling our resources through the Council, it is difficult for the Council to finance the court work.
Thank goodness that the C of C has taken on robocalls. The instigators of the robocalls thought they’d get away with it; citizens ordinarily have a hard time to organize and finance such battles.
“Attacking the Council of Canadians is just a strategy to delay the cases and drive up legal costs,” says the Council of Canadians’ Executive Director Garry Neil. “We believe it is vital to Canadian democracy for a judge to have an opportunity to consider the powerful evidence that fraudulent activity affected the outcome of the May 2011 federal election in these seven ridings.”
A “PROTHONOTARY” will hear the arguments on Monday, June 25. (The title given to an officer who officiates as principal clerk of some courts – - I had to look that one up, too!)
The prothonotary expects to issue a decision by 2 weeks from Monday (July 9th).
If the decision is to reject the CPC arguments, it is expected that argument on the robocalls (the evidence) will be heard by the Court in September, and the Court decision will come out in early 2013.
I am going to send some money to the Council – - I can’t think of anything more in service of Canadian values and more in need at the moment.