As is well documented, Stephen Harper had a different plan. That he succeeded in trampling on Canada’s laws and revered traditions does not speak well for us.
One of the most shameful moments was when he prorogued parliament to shut down the investigation into the Afghan prisoners torture scandal. A respected Canadian diplomat had blown the whistle on this situation and Parliament had a duty to ensure it was handled properly.
Harper remained a couple of steps ahead, and he had more tricks up his sleeve. In 2011, because of his stubborn withholding of information, the Harper government was found in contempt of parliament.
The ensuing election gave Harper his hoped for majority. Most of Canada’s major newspapers had backed him, and the result was portrayed as a triumph and a vindication.
It was not until later that the Conservatives were found to have perpetrated a wide-spread “robocall” operation, in which non-conservative voters were phoned up and directed to the wrong voting place.
Recently Mel Hurtig’s The Arrogant Autocrat has presented a clearer picture of those times:
- The 2011 election saw no resounding victory in terms of the popular vote. In 2008 the Conservatives won a minority government with 37.65% of the vote, and three years later they increased by 1.97 %. Their majority was achieved with 39.62%.
- Most interesting, “the 2011 majority government was decided by only 6201 votes spread across 14 swing ridings–ridings where the ‘winner’ was decided by a handful of votes.”
This data raises more questions about the robocall operation, and aids insight into the thinking behind the Fair Elections Act. If ridings are won by a mere handful of voters, major results can come from depriving people of their voting rights.