The Real Illegitimacy Of A Harper Government

Posted on Wednesday, May 25 at 08:32 by Robin Mathews

The Real Illegitimacy of a Harper Government


The Harper group is illegitmate as government, now, I believe, on the basis to two irrefutable facts.  The Contempt of Parliament ruling against it invalidates candidates.  And its illegal activities in election spending in the 2006 election, only now being exposed in court because of falsehoods and delaying tactics employed by Harper and the Conservative Machine, also invalidate it.


I wrote to and (earlier) posted here a complaint to the federal Chief Electoral Officer. I said that the finding by the House and naming by the Speaker of Mr. Harper and Conservative Members as being in Contempt of Parliament made Mr. Harper and the named Members (in my judgement) legally unable (as not legitimate) to run in the recent election.


I asked the Chief Electoral Officer to seek an interpretation of the relevant section(s) of the Elections Act from the Supreme Court of Canada (especially since no party before in history has been named in Contempt of Parliament) …  and because the powers of Parliament are unique, special, and cannot be dismissed easily.


I was answered (May 16,  2011) by Ronald Lamothe, Investigator – to whom I had not addressed my letter. (Mr. Lamothe is one of those who engaged in the investigation which has brought the Conservative Party to court in relation to the In-and-Out Scandal.) He does not state that he is answering my letter on behalf of Marc Mayrand, Chief Electoral Officer.  Mr. Lamothe informs me that the finding of Contempt “was against the government, and not any one individual.  Furthermore, a motion of the House of Commons is neither a finding that a crime or offence has been committed, nor a finding of criminal guilt.”


Mr. Lamothe continues that the list of persons ineligible (under the Elections Act) to be a candidate “does not include anyone who was the subject of a finding of contempt of Parliament.”  That finding, “therefore does not deprive anyone of their right to be a candidate in the federal election.”


The opinion expressed by Mr. Lamothe (using incorrect grammar) is precisely the one that I believe can ONLY be upheld or dismissed by a full review of the Elections Act by the Supreme Court of Canada.  (The ruling by the Speaker of the House of Commons that the “government” was in Contempt of Parliament was not, as Mr. Lamothe calls it, a “motion”.)


In an almost precisely parallel instance, very recently, a higher court finding supports my request – in a finding over the long-dragging, Harperite, 2006 In-and-Out Election Scandal.


I will explain the In-and-Out Scandal in a moment, which, in itself,  (in natural justice) invalidates the Harper group completely from holding Parliamentary positions. 


Briefly – readers must know Opposition parliamentarians smelled a rat very early after the 2006 election.  They began to investigate Conservative Machine spending, using the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics.  The Harperite committee members and those called to witness did everything illegitimate they could to prevent an examination of Conservative Party electoral spending behaviour in the 2006 election – including ignoring subpoenas to appear issued by the Chair of the committee.


As a principal point, readers must observe that a major tactic of Harper’s operation is to breach trust, to violate procedure, to circulate falsehoods, and to abuse traditional practice – in short, to undertake immoral (and illegal actions) that he believes cannot be challenged successfully in law.


That explains why Elections Canada did not act until 2008 when court action against the Conservative Party was undertaken by the Director of Public Prosecutions.  Since 2008, the Harper Machine has used every shady and disreputable tactic possible to prevent the investigation from proceeding fairly.  In fact, its refusal to surrender records of the 2006 election forced the RCMP to raid Conservative offices to obtain information.


Before a Federal Court, the Harper lawyers argued, in short, that Elections Canada is there to receive and acknowledge receipt of election-spending records, NOT to assess them for legitimacy or to investigate their lawfulness! The presiding judge decided more investigation was needed, and he stopped the action for a time.  He DID NOT side with the Conservative Machine argument.  His finding was appealed, and the appeal judge(s) declared, in effect, that the relevant clauses of the Election Act would be meaningless if Elections Canada were unable to proceed from receipt of records to the assessment of their legitimacy and to remedial action if they were deemed illegitimate.


My exchange with Ronald Lamothe is a parallel case. I asked the Chief Electoral Officer to request a review by the Supreme Court of Canada of the relevant sections of the Elections Act to find the powers of Parliament in regard to them and the full meaning of a finding of Contempt of Parliament in relation to the Elections Act.  Mr. Lamothe writes that – in effect – there is nothing in the Act which provides for application of Contempt of Parliament to Members of Parliament named in Contempt – in relation to their legitimacy, thereafter, as candidates in an election.


That would mean – as in the other example in which the Conservatives argued the Act gives no further powers than to record receipt of reports – that a ruling of Contempt of Parliament against a Party and/or its members is meaningless, that it carries no power to punish, that it exists without relevance to those it condemns. 


That is simply not believable.


And so I reject the opinion of Ronald Lamothe.  I continue to hold that the ruling of Contempt of Parliament against the Conservative parliamentarians is meaningful, carries power, is relevant – and may well invalidate them from running as candidates in an election for a period of (at least) five years.  Only a ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada will solve the difference of interpretation.


In brief, the In-and-Out Scandal is about – to use the words of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the fact that “the Conservatives willfully exceeded the elections expense limit”, thereby seeking unfair advantage in the 2006 election (and, probably, gaining from it).


They attempted, moreover, to claim as election spending in those constituencies the monies sent to them for only a few hours before being sent back. And they set out to claim rebates on the money that came in-and-out in each of something like 67 or 68 ridings. 


Think of that.  These are the allegations: Harperites shipped into each of some 67 or 68 constituencies tens of thousands of dollars – for only a few hours, after which the money was returned.  THEN it was siphoned off to OVERSPEND in tight constituency races.


During the few hours the tens of thousands of dollars were sitting in constituencies, they were added. in those constituencies, to “monies raised” there, AND EACH candidate applied to have you and me (Canadian taxpayers) reimburse them for the money falsely claimed to have been raised in the constituency.


Each of the Harper candidates in those ridings broke the law.  Each must be held responsible for assisting in violation of the Elections Act. 


Four or five of the Harper candidates refused to take part.  One of them, in Ontario, reports he believed the matter illegal from the start, and he praised the court action against the Conservative Machine.  One is the famous Helena Guergis, thrust out of cabinet and caucus by Stephen Harper. She refused to go along.


Was that at least part of the reason Stephen Harper threw her to the wolves?


The key fact (for Canadians) in relation to the alleged infractions of the Elections Act in 2006 is that the Breach of Trust by the Conservative Machine is so serious that the Party cannot claim to be a legitimate government.  The wrong-doing in 2006 continues as a factor in everything the Conservative Machine has done since. It cannot have cheated to its advantage, used the advantage, and then pretend that its present situation is not a product of that action – which I am confident the courts will find to be fraud.


One of the charges is that the fundraising arm of the Conservative Party reported material “that they knew or ought reasonably to have known contained a materially false or misleading statement, namely that all election expenses in respect to the 39th federal general election had been properly recorded.”


Shadow-boxing, misleading the public, claiming false things, the Harper group has soiled the whole process of democratic procedure in Canada. The Scandal does not – as Stephen Harper and his group have claimed – relate to an “accounting dispute”, is not about “administrative charges’.  The court did not rule in favour of the Conservative Party when it upheld the argument that the Elections Act restricted investigation – in fact, it called for further investigation.


The Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand, didn’t lay charges against the Conservative party – the Director of Public Prosecutions did after examining evidence produced by the Commissioner of Canada Elections.


Other parties – as constantly claimed by Stephen Harper’s spokespeople - did not engage in the same activities.  That is a lie. One of many.


Wading through the fog of false Conservative Machine claims only makes more and more clear the willingness of Harper and his group to destroy democracy in Canada. In the process, I believe, they have so violated law and process that they no longer possess legitimacy as parliamentarians.  I believe, moreover, that Canadians must – in an overwhelming majority – come to that conclusion.

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