Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The $780,000 (and counting) question: when will Elections Canada stop chasing a fantasy?

Isn’t it strange how that anti-conservative robocall conspiracy has all but disappeared from the media in the past few months?

For instance, the last Maclean’s article on the subject was on November 30, 2012, which was just an update on the federal court proceedings led by the left-wing Council of Canadians.

Even Glen McGregor and Stephen Maher, the robocall conspiracy front men for the past year, have gone silent, choosing instead to complain that Harper’s security costs too much or writing about Harper's to-be-released hockey book.

Indeed, almost 12 months ago I wrote that “the only thing we know is that we know surprisingly little, and we most certainly cannot label any one party or person as being responsible.”  That was a year ago, and the statement holds true today.

We still know someone, somewhere, made some suspicious calls in Guelph, Ontario.  Since then, we have seen trumped up charges being pushed by left-wing organizations, call centre employees who have been revealed to be lying, half truths and “anonymous sources” reported as reliable, Elections Canada admitting they have no evidence against the lead suspect,  and the Guelph Liberals – yes, the Guelph Liberals – being the only party to-date fined for illegal robocalls.  The allegations have entirely crumbled.

Of course, there’s also that often forgotten statement made by Elections Canada summarizing the 2011 election:

“There was no conduct reported that would bring into question the integrity of the election result overall or the result in a particular riding. Although misconduct was reported in several ridings, there is no complaint that it affected the final result. There is some speculation in the media that the dirty tricks may have affected the result in some close contests.”

Even though these allegations have been thoroughly debunked and Canada’s robocall front men have switched to reporting about the RCMP and hockey, Elections Canada continues to investigate.  And a response to an Access to Information request shows their investigation has cost Canadians $780,000 to-date (and counting).

Note 1: These are costs beyond Elections Canada's normal operating budget.  They already have directorates and branches which handle enforcement and investigations - these are additional costs pertaining specifically to the robocalls investigation.
Note 2: This is only Elections Canada. It does not include the RCMP or CRTC, which have also been involved in the "robocalls" investigation.
Note 3: "Secondment" employees are federal employees who are temporarily moved to work for another government department.  It is unclear whether the salaries reported here are additional to their salary earned at their employing department.

Since the fall of 2011 Canadians have been inundated with absurd claims of an illegitimate federal government which misled Canadians away from their right to vote.  Claims of those evil conservatives doing anything to win.  Those claims were debunked months ago, yet Elections Canada continues to investigate - wasting Canadian taxpayers' time and money.

How much more money will be thrown into the pit of chasing fantasies?  How much more will be spent by the end of 2013?  By the end of the investigation?

Who is profiting most from this investigation? Stay tuned tomorrow to find out...