Watchdog says Elections Canada isn’t doing enough to deal with election fraud

Andy Radia
·Politics Reporter

A national watchdog has serious doubts that Elections Canada has the ability or capacity to get to the bottom of the robo-call scandal.

Democracy Watch, a "citizen's organization" based in Ottawa says the main problem is no one can tell whether Elections Canada has been enforcing the law fairly because the organization lacks transparency.

A total of 1,334 complaints were filed with Elections Canada in the 2004, 2006, and 2008 federal elections, according to PostMedia News.

In 2011, they received 1,872 complaints about accessibility problems, 2,956 emails complaining of voting rule confusion in the Guelph area, and 1,003 complaints about other issues.

According to Democracy Watch, Elections Canada has failed to report details of how it has investigated and ruled on 2,284 of these complaints in the past seven years.

"We don't know how many [complaint files] have been closed, how many have been investigated, or the rulings on these," Democracy Watch's Tyler Sommers told CBC's As it Happens.

"We need opposition and government [MPs] to step up and say we want regular details about every single complaint that you've received.

"We don't have enough detail about Elections Canada. We don't whether they're not providing these details because they're not able to conduct these investigations fully due to a lack of resources or because they just don't feel it important to report this information."

Earlier this week, the CBC reported that Elections Canada is investigating reports from Thunder Bay, Ont., of alleged voter suppression calls reported by workers in a call centre run by Responsive Marketing Group, the Conservatives' largest provider of call services.

If true, the report would be the first instance of the agency actively investigating reports beyond Guelph.

The story can't be confirmed because Elections Canada refuses to comment.

"Elections Canada isn't giving us enough info to ensure that they're doing their job," Sommers said.

"In any other job you have to show your performance. You have to ensure to your bosses that you're actually doing your job and doing it well. Why isn't it the same for Elections Canada?"