Fixing Elections Through Fraud

Commission on Electoral Practices in Canada
by Anthony J. Hall

The declining credibility of elections in many countries is creating a crisis of legitimacy severing bonds of trust that once linked citizens to the institutions that govern us. Without credible proof that those governing on our behalf really have earned our supportive consent in free and fair elections, one of humanity’s greatest innovations is rendered null and void.

The implications of this breakdown put in doubt one of the West’s premier claims, namely that its core polities are beacons of democracy worthy of emulation. The democratic deficit arising from episodes of electoral malfeasance makes a mockery of the West’s frequent assertions that its expansionary enterprises are benign efforts to spread the benefits of governance through voter choice rather than the armed impositions of autocrats.

As shall be established in the main body of this essay, the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 in the United States are both textbook examples of systemic fraud that ushered into power the losing candidate. Many of the tactics for cheating developed primarily on the right wing of the political spectrum in the United States are being broadly exported. The evidence is mounting, for instance, that the unfolding controversy over the conduct and outcome of the 2011 federal election in Canada involves violations of the law by operatives who seem to have moved easily between the orbit of the Republican Party in the United States and the orbit of the Conservative Party in Canada.

The importation into Canada of Republican Party tactics for stealing votes and elections is an extension of a very old process that has seen the constitutional monarchy in the northern half of North America assimilated more and more into the political culture of the republic to the south. This process of assimilation tends to wreak havoc on Canada’s institutions of parliamentary democracy derived primarily from the Westminster Parliament in Great Britain.

As the leadership of the ruling Conservative Party of Canada looks more and more to the right-wing of the political spectrum in the United States for models of how to win and maintain power, the integrity of Canada’s own indigenous institutions of self-governance is increasingly imperiled. The assault on the indigenous conservatism inherited from the era of the civil war in British North America has been particularly brutal. Recall that Canada emerged from the conservative side of the conflict remembered in history as the American Revolution. The protests in Boston Harbor against the taxation of East India Company tea were a liberal attack on the conservatism of the British imperial red coats who are the founding fathers of my country, the polity that would in due course become the coast-to-coast-to-coast Dominion of Canada.

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