The U.S. has the corner on the market when it comes to scandal, but Canada isn’t doing too badly either. The corruption and turpitude continue to be hung out on the clothesline for all to see.
American publications don’t usually follow much if any Canadian news so I’m sharing these updates. You can also read the election story at Veteran’s Today.
It seems my dear Canada learned well from its southern cousin America about the seedy side of life and disrepute. We’re all in this together, my friends.
Two of the latest juicy ones… Toronto’s Crack-Smoking Mayor and the 2011 Elections now exposed for what they are, and the fall-out continues… I’m sorry, but I just have to laugh. What next?
Even the Globe and Mail (the more conservative newspaper) didn’t hesitate to publish the latest dirt on Mayor Rob Ford. They also ran the election fraud pieces. Apparently election fraud is nothing new in Canada and the poll station officials swap stories. I wonder where the Globe draws the line on telling the truth?
So far we’re doing pretty well in print on sharing the truth, other than telling The People about the First Nations genocide and the arrest warrants for Harper, the Queen and the Pope. That’s still taboo in all the MSM—for now.
This is beginning to look like it may even be a distraction from something else. What else is going on?
“In a chaotic press conference this morning, Mr Ford apologised for calling journalists “a bunch of maggots” yesterday, and then confirmed that his press secretary and deputy press secretary had quit, just days after Mr Ford fired his chief of staff.” ~ ABC.net
The Mayor’s Press Secretary George Christopoulos and His Assistant, Isaac Ransom, Both Resigned Monday
Globe and Mail
Two more top aides have departed from the office of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford as the city’s troubled leader continues to battle allegations that he was caught on video using crack cocaine.
The mayor’s press secretary George Christopoulos and his assistant, Isaac Ransom, both resigned Monday, sources in the mayor’s office confirmed.
Mr. Ford told a scrum of journalists outside his office that the pair had “decided to go … down a different avenue.” He said he was told of their departures around noon.
“I wish them the best of luck in their future endeavours and I want to thank them for working hard in this office,” he said, flanked by his brother Councillor Doug Ford.
Mr. Ford declined to say why Mr. Christopoulos and Mr. Ransom had quit, but said he never wants to “hold anyone back from moving on for future endeavours or opportunities that they may have.”
Mr. Ford announced that Amin Massoudi, Doug’s executive assistant, had agreed to become his new communications director. An earlier statement said Sunny Petrujkic would be interim press secretary.
The mayor also responded to a Globe and Mail report that a senior member of his office was interviewed by police last week about a tip linking the alleged crack video to a recent Toronto homicide.
“Everything’s fine. I have no idea what the police are investigating,” Mr. Ford said.
Before his scrum and statement, Mr. Ford walked into an area where his staff have their offices. He was accompanied by city manager Joe Pennachetti as well as the head of security. After several minutes in the staff area, the mayor returned to his office.
Mr. Christopoulos and Mr. Ransom had already had left city hall, sources told The Globe and Mail, so were not escorted out by security as happened last week when the Mayor’s chief of staff Mark Towhey was fired.
Mr. Towhey took to Twitter just minutes after news broke of the departures, saying they are “outstanding, honest & honorable professionals for whom I have enormous respect.”
Mr. Towhey was fired on Thursday after telling Mr. Ford that seeking help for his addiction was the only one way out of the mounting scandal, sources told The Globe. It has not been established that Mr. Ford has an addiction.
Mr. Towhey made the demand as pressure mounted on Mr. Ford to respond to reports of a video allegedly showing him smoking crack cocaine, a source said. The plan was to quietly put the mayor on a plane to a rehab centre and issue a statement after he was gone.
After a week of near-silence, Mr. Ford addressed allegations that he used crack cocaine in a brief statement to reporters on Friday.
“I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine,” he said. “I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist.”
On Sunday, Mr. Ford went further, saying: “There’s no video, so that’s all I can say. You can’t comment on something that doesn’t exist.” He also called Toronto media “a bunch of maggots.”
During his scrum on Monday, Mr. Ford apologized to journalists for “a derogatory comment” he used on his radio show.
“I’m sure you understand that this has been a very stressful week for myself and my family but that doesn’t justify using the terminology I did,” he said.
Funny… the comments under the online article were closed.
In Robo-calls Ruling, a Wider Spectre of Electoral Fraud Emerges
Globe and Mail
The Conservatives were hardly vindicated in the Federal Court ruling on automated-calling fraud: It may not have been a national conspiracy, but it shows a dangerous disregard for principle.
On Friday, in the so-called ‘Robo-call’ case, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that electoral fraud had indeed been committed by Conservatives in six ridings across Canada, but did not find grounds to throw out any election results and therefore dismissed the case. An appeal to the Supreme Court seems likely, especially since Federal Court Judge Robert Mosley – unusually – awarded court costs to the loser. He seems to have been making a point.
“Misleading calls about the locations of polling stations were made to electors in ridings across the country, including the subject ridings, and the purpose of those calls was to suppress the votes of electors who had indicated their voting preference in response to earlier voter identification calls,” Judge Mosley wrote. However, he added, “the voter suppression effort was geographically widespread but, apart from Guelph (Ont.), thinly scattered.”
So the finding is basically that the Robo-calls scandal of 2011 was illegal but not a national conspiracy. To anyone with experience of the inside of Canadian election machinery (about 200,000 of us every federal election), the decision is on-target but very disturbing. It should disturb every Canadian.
Your correspondent served as a Provincial Returning Officer in two Ontario general elections (2007 and 2011) and a by-election (2010). Returning Officers don’t talk much outside their circle – if only because other peoples’ eyes tend to glaze over when they do – but there is certainly a body of lore about what stunts have been pulled in which ridings in living memory and it gets swapped in the halls at training sessions.
There are ridings where certain shenanigans (yes, acts of fraud) are practically traditional. Just two anecdotes from a multitude: one party is known locally for busing in homeless people from elsewhere with something that looks enough like ID to get them past the hapless registration agents at the polls. Since thousands of people have access to voters’ lists on polling day, both in the party organizations and the returning office, keeping them out of the hands of people who may do improper things with them is nearly impossible.
In our riding, partisan relationships were very civil. Nonetheless, a year before 2011 and Robo-calls, we had ‘robo-flyers.’ Some character from some organization – we never found out who or which – peppered a large downtown housing development with misdirecting flyers on election eve. We had to strip an overstretched returning office to put people into the field to try to find all the bogus flyers and replace them with corrections. It was really picayune, but whoever did it sure had the spirit.
Apropos of which, Judge Mosley balanced his finding by noting that “the scale of the fraud has to be kept in perspective.” It’s not the scale of Robo-call that’s disturbing, though. It’s the fact that a number of – apparently midlevel – party apparatchiks felt morally empowered to do the kinds of things they apparently did, and were able to do them.
However high-tech this particular set of tricks may have been, on the face of it what the investigations were turning up appeared to be sporadic and unco-ordinated. The difference between this and all other tricks is that it was enabled by an entirely new level of technological capacity, in this case the Conservative CIMS voter database. Big Data breeds Big Power, and if the will to misuse it is there, anywhere, it will be misused.
Robo-call 2011 was probably a maverick activity. But when you line it up with other activity (like $90,000 personal cheques written to Senators, and expense-account frauds, and relentless control of ‘messaging,’ and a general take-no-prisoners approach to politics), you find a mindset that feeds on itself, is self-reinforcing – ‘we have the right to get away with whatever we can get away with and nobody can stop us’ – that has the potential to become dangerous and that no legislation or regulation can control.
No political system can exist without conventions among all major actors. The moment any actor places itself beyond convention, we are on the steep slope into anarchy.
It gets worse. As we’re increasingly finding out, ‘robo-calling’ activity falls under the broad rubric of cyber-warfare. What happened in 2011 was done ‘at home’ without benefit of hackery, but experiences since 2011 with international hacker collectives, whether based in Shanghai, or Damascus, or a kid’s basement in suburban London, show that cyber-assault knows no boundaries. At this point any major political party could have control of their database taken away from them by parties unknown anywhere on Earth and might not be any the wiser.
That’s the stuff real elections nightmares are made of.