Patrick Ross challenged my blog post about the voter disruption tactics engaged by the Tories at the University of Guelph yesterday. I thought I’d reproduce his remarks from the comments section. Patrick wrote:
“Here are a few facts that your readers would likely benefit from. According to the letter Arthur Hamilton, counsel for the Tory candidate, wrote to Pierre Boutet at Elections Canada:
-Hamilton contacted Boutet to complain about the exclusion of a Tory scrutineer at the polling station — this alone is a violation of the Elections Act — only to be notified that no polling station had been authorized at the University of Guelph.
-Moreover, no polling or voter registration had been authorized at York University.
-Partisan literature from candidates were present at the polling station. This, again, is a violation of the Elections Act.
“So what we have here is a minimum of two violations of the Elections Act. I reserve the possibility that the polling stations in question had, indeed, been authorized by the Chief Electoral Officer and that this had not been communicated to Mr Boutet.
“But the other two examples, if true, are clear violations of the Elections Act. It seems that those on Twitter currently carping on this story aren’t bothering to comment on the violations. Perhaps you’re willing?”
As always, Patrick, I’m happy to rise to the challenge.
Elections Canada has held three previous advance polls at the university without any problems so I find the allegation that no polling or voter registration had been authorized by Elections Canada rather improbable, particularly given that the poll was manned by an Elections Canada returning officer. Frankly, Mr. Hamilton’s allegations are incongruent with the statements made by the media spokesperson for Elections Canada itself.
As for partisan literature ‘at’ the polling station, Elections Canada indicated that there was partisan material outside the polling station (ie in the lineups) and that their officials put a stop to it because the Elections Act prohibits such activity in the ‘vicinity of’ a polling station.
I don’t know about a Tory ‘scrutineer’ being denied entry. Scrutineers need to be registered, have a letter from the candidate’s official agent authorizing them to be there on the candidate’s behalf, and produce proper photograph ID. If a scrutineer was asked to leave, it’s most likely because one of those criteria wasn’t met. I’ve been a scrutineer: it happens. It does not invalidate the entire poll.
If I had to rely on the stories so far, it looks like Mr. Hamilton immediately reported to Mr. Sona, Marty Burke’s director of communications that the poll was ‘unauthorized’ and ‘illegal.’ Mr. Sona then barged into the voting centre alleging an ‘illegal vote’ and causing a scene. Mr. Hamilton’s letter, unfortunately, does not set out the facts of that incident at all. However Mr. Sona’s grab for the ballot box and the stories which indicate that the person with him was on his cellphone at the time (not allowed in the voting centre) are themselves Election Act violations.
I’m sure we’ll hear more about this as the story gets picked up in the media. And I’ve posted Mr. Hamilton’s letter on my previous post. While you say he is counsel for the local candidate, that letter indicates that he is also challenging the vote at York University, which suggests to me that he had a broader agenda (and clientele) than simply Mr. Burke, the local candidate.
“Hamilton raised allegations of ‘Jaffer and Guergis on tape, partying with hookers and doing cocaine” and that “not only does Helena tolerate Jaffer hanging out with, with escorts, and prostitutes, but there’s apparently video of her snorting cocaine off the breasts of a prostitute.”
As we’ve learned in the news overnight as well, those allegations were without merit.
Peggy’s regular blog posts on writing and getting published will resume on May 3rd, after the Canadian election.