It's interesting that in the course of accusing participants in legal proceedings of abuse of process, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) is appealing to guilt by association. And it was nice of everyone to ensure that there was a big development in this story just in time for a Friday morning post.
The big news this week involves the legal challenges to federal election results in seven ridings filed by nine residents of those ridings and sponsored and funded by the Council of Canadians (CoC). I was careful to phrase it that way because the CPC is asking the court to dismiss the cases on the grounds that the CoC is not an elector. Well, that and the fact that the CoC is really a bunch of "professional agitators" — in other words they're activists — who are only in it for the money.
We all know the royal road to wealth and power these days is through the kind of activism that Maude Barlow pursues. This cause will have her rolling in so much dough that when it's over she'll be able to kick back and spend her new found wealth on totally frivolous pursuits. Like trying to protect our access to fresh water and preserve the Great Lakes.
But I digress.
I'm not sure it matters whether the Council is an elector or what their motives are, even if the bright lights at the CPC really can read minds to determine those motives, because, as the Ottawa Citizen reminds us, the Council of Canadians aren't technically litigants in these proceedings. The litigants are the nine people who actually live in those ridings. Dismissing the challenges for no other reason than that the Conservatives don't like the people who are paying the legal bills would only deprive those litigants of their rightful access to the legal process. If I can figure that out, I'm pretty sure a Federal Court can.
It's also interesting to see what the CPC's legal team think are arguments that the judicial system should take seriously. Aside from a large amount of material devoted to convincing the reader that the Council isn't exactly friendly towards Conservative ideology, there's this:
The motion, from Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton, even assails his opposing counsel Steven Shrybman, calling him "an avowed adversary" of the party. It is backed up with an affidavit from another lawyer in Hamilton's firm that traces the union connections of Council board members and support for the Occupy movement and asserts the council "is of like mind with labour union elites."
And everyone knows that people associated with organized labour should have no access to the legal system.
The scary part is that some on the Conservative side may actually consider these to be valid arguments. We won't found out what the court thinks until June. I'm hoping that among other things, the court will express its disgust at the suggestion that it would be unable to separate Shrybman's politics from the merits of his legal arguments.
Meanwhile, back at the Elections Canada (EC) investigation...
Earlier this week we were told to expect a report on that investigation soon. That article also includes a review of investigator Al Mathews work since he began looking into events in Guelph last May. (And if you want more on Mathews and the other EC investigators, there's a piece in The Hill Times.) As to what the report will contain and whether it will result in charges, the story isn't all that encouraging.
... sources say that people with knowledge of the inner workings of the Burke campaign have not been forthcoming with investigators.
"The guys are waiting it out," said one person who spoke on condition of anonymity. "From my understanding, their lawyers are just saying there's nothing they can do to stick it to them."
The small group of people who are believed to have knowledge of the vote-suppression scheme appear to be in communication with one another but they are said not to be spilling the beans, hoping that if they all hold their tongues, Elections Canada won't have enough facts to make a case.
That sounds an awful lot like there's "one person" who knows who the guilty parties are and thinks they'll walk. If that ends up being the case, there will be a lot of people complaining loudly that the investigation wasn't fast enough or aggressive enough. I'm pretty sure of that because I'll be one of them.