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Daniel Dickin

Daniel Dickin is a columnist for The Prince Arthur Herald. He obtained his B.A. in law and political science from Carleton University in 2011 and is in his second year of M.A. studies at Athabasca University. @DanielDickin

The voter fraud no one’s talking about

Have you ever heard about the voter fraud that took place in 2006 in Saskatchewan's Desnethe- Missinippi- Churchill River riding? With all the hyperbole and "expert opinion" regarding the Fair Elections Act right now, the media would be all over stories of voter fraud and how the proposed legislation would crack down on it. ... Wouldn't they? In 2006, incumbent Conservative MP Jeremy Harrison was facing Liberal candidate Gary Merasty, a former chief of one of the aboriginal bands in the riding.  All of the polls had closed and the votes were being counted.  With all but one poll being counted, Harrison had been re-elected. But suddenly, over three and a half hours after the polls had closed, that final poll came in - it was from an aboriginal band.  Suddenly, Conservative MP Harrison had been defeated by the Liberal by a mere 68 votes. Suspicious yet?  Just wait. Over 100 percent of the eligible voting population voted!  That's right: on top of the 380 voters who were registered to vote, another 240 people showed up and registered on election day.  And they were all vouched for! Secondly, every single ballot just so happened to be in Merasty's name. Thirdly, a prize was given away - a flat screen TV - supposedly to incentivize voting.  This raffle was done in the same building as the polling station, so band administrators could easily enter names into the draw as they voted. Did you read that correctly?  Yes, you did! What was Elections Canada's response to such suspicious activity - indeed, potential fraud? The voter turnout of over 100 percent?  Well, aboriginals historically have low voter turnout.  More of them voting is great!  Also, the voter lists for the reserve were wildly out of date. The delay of over three and a half hours?  Well, vouching for… Read More

Trudeau Liberals and their Expenses

Trudeau Liberals admit spending three times more than the Prime Minister’s staffers after attacking staffers’ occasional lunch expenses; they spend an average of $6144 per month on questionable hospitality expenses. It took almost a year since Justin Trudeau made the promise, but the publicly-posted Liberal expenses are finally available. The numbers raise many more questions about the Liberal’s hospitality expenses than they answer: namely, that they’re spending over $6100 in taxpayers money every month on pizza, lunches, dinners, and meetings with staff over coffee. According to the Liberal disclosure, between September and December 2013, Liberal Members of Parliament billed taxpayers a total of $24,575.80 on “hospitality” expenses. However, this number is likely to be much higher: the almost $25,000 is based on the MPs who have actually reported their expenses in accordance with Trudeau’s instructions. Several MPs, such as Roger Cuzner, Chrystia Freeland, Ralph Goodale, Mark Garneau, and David McGuinty still have no hospitality expenses listed. In fact, McGuinty has absolutely no expenses listed.* The most expensive Liberal MP is Lawrence MacAulay, who has billed taxpayers a total of $2181.07 in hospitality over four months. His expenses include a $377.84 dinner “with elected officials” on September 16 and a $40 breakfast on September 28. A close runner up is Emmanuel Dubourg who, although only being elected to Parliament in November, has already billed taxpayers for $1534.96 in hospitality. That total includes a $50 “Christmas dinner” and a $1424 party to celebrate his swearing-in as an MP. More questions arise from other members of the Liberal caucus. For example, Carolyn Bennett’s $155.45 lunch in Ottawa on September 19 when Parliament did not resume sitting until October 16. Or what about her $65.31 dinner when she was back home in her Toronto riding on October 18? Or what about Mauril Belanger’s $290.36… Read More

Filibustering Democracy

Opposition parties need only look in the mirror if they’re seriously wondering why “closure” and “time allocation” have increasingly been used in parliamentary affairs. Of course, both are valid procedures that have existed for decades. Closure requires that a question or debate “not be further adjourned” (that the item be closed) while time allocation “allows for specific lengths of time to be set aside for the consideration of one or more stages of a public bill.” In their most recent complaints, we’ve seen the NDP and Liberals claim they weren’t given enough time to debate the Fair Elections Act, the Act that will refocus Elections Canada’s mandate, provide better customer service, crack down on voter fraud, and impose tough new penalties on individuals found impersonating elections officials. It’s obvious the bill needs to be passed relatively quickly if it is to be in effect for the October 2015 election. But that doesn’t matter to the Opposition parties – all they complain about is wanting more time to study the bill and hear from experts, more time to make comments, and more time to debate. It wouldn’t matter if they were given 10 days or 10 months – they’d want more. They succeed by wanting more. Their demands and the inevitable filibuster are thus reduced to a way of circumventing democracy. The federal Conservatives were given a majority mandate by the Canadian people in the 2011 federal election. That majority gives the government the right to implement its agenda. The Opposition plays a role in asking questions and holding the government to account, but it has no right to delay or deny the will of the Canadian people. Who eventually wins is not surprising. Majority governments have the numbers and legitimacy to implement their policies. Save for a few exceptional cases,… Read More

Wynne’s Reddit AMA was an insult to voters

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne attempted to appear connected to the younger generation and responsive to the many questions and concerns of Ontarians, but she failed miserably. On February 11, Wynne held a Reddit “Ask me Anything” session.  AMA sessions are supposed to be about “something uncommon that plays a central role in your life” or “a truly interesting and unique event.”  They are intended to be unscripted, real responses to real questions asked by real people.  When Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi hosted a Reddit session in October 2013, his responses were thorough and to-the-point, whether about expanding light rail services or upcoming road construction projects. Instead, the Premier’s session lasted less than an hour and she only managed to respond to 10 questions, all of which sounded like pre-drafted generic answers.  That left 1505 comments without responses. The questions were honest, frank inquiries about the state of Ontario’s government.  They asked for legitimacy in a Premier that became Premier without ever being elected by the Ontario people.  They asked for hope in a time of reckless green energy experiments instead of investing in keeping and building jobs for Ontarians.  The questions were on a breadth of provincial responsibilities – from sex education to the economy to the LCBO to public sector compensation. Readers were left horribly disappointed - some even called it offensive that the Premier would enter such a social media platform without doing her research that people would, you know, expect answers to their questions. Unanswered questions included: What were the consequences to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and the Chief Executive Officer of Ontario’s Public Drug Programs for their failure to produce and publish annual reports as required by law? Why are residents restricted from installing their own solar panels? Does Premier Wynne agree with… Read More

Economic Action Plan 2014: A balanced budget with a $3 billion contingency

Economic Action Plan 2014 wasn’t even tabled in the House of Commons before NDP leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau complained about it. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s 10th federal budget, officially titled The Road to Balance: Creating Jobs and Opportunities, delivers real results for Canadians and their families.  It supports jobs and growth, families and communities, and highlights the road to a balanced budget in 2015.  The 2014-2015 budget is technically balanced, but for a $3 billion contingency for unforeseen circumstances. Some of the measures include:   -       Projects a $6.4 billion surplus in 2015-2016 -       Continuing to improve upon the Conservative government’s impressive 1+ million jobs created since July 2009 -       Saving small businesses over $2.2 billion by keeping the small business tax rate at 11 percent -       Continuing to save the average family of four $3400 in fewer taxes they pay -       $500 million for the Automotive Innovation Fund -       $10 million for social innovation research projects at colleges -       Implementing the Victims’ Bill of Rights -       $25 million over five years to combat violence against aboriginal women and children, including awareness and safety programs. -       Amending public service policies to better align with the current job market realities -       $15 million annually for 1000 full-time internships for post-secondary graduates working at small- and medium-sized enterprises -       $40 million for up to 3000 internships in high-demand fields -       Review the $330 million Youth Employment Strategy budget to better align with the labour market -       Over $438 million for aboriginal schools and education -       Student-owned vehicles will no longer be considered in student loan assessments -       Online casinos will be subject to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. -       Anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations will be implemented for virtual currencies such as Bitcoin… Read More
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