Canada’s Harper pledges cooperation after election

By ROB GILLIES – 2 hours ago

OTTAWA (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday he will reach out to all parties during the global financial meltdown after his Conservative Party won in national elections but fell short of a parliamentary majority.

Harper had called Tuesday’s elections early in hopes of getting his party a majority, and in doing so he became the first major world leader to face voters since the financial crisis….

With nearly all the returns in, Canada’s election agency reported on its Web site that the Conservatives had won or was [sic] leading in races for 143 of Parliament’s 308 seats, an improvement over the 127 seats the party had in the previous Parliament.

The Conservative Party needed to win 155 seats to govern on its own…..

Voter turnout Tuesday about 59 percent [sic], the lowest in Canadian history. It was unclear how much stringent new proof-of-identity requirements affected the turnout….(Full Story)

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Comment by F4L: I helped to run the advance polling station in our area, as well as that my wife and I help to run the regular polling station in yesterdays voting in our home town.

As to how the “stringent new proof-of-identity requirements affected the turnout,” that is hard to say.  It depends on a number of things.  To some extent it depends on how well voters will remember at the next elections how seriously they were affected by those “stringent new proof-of-identity requirements.”

  • Many people could not find the place at which the advance polls were held.
  • Many people who did find the advance polling station had to search for an hour-and-half and more to find the place.  That was not helped by the fact that the address for the place was misleading, mislabelled and plainly wrong.
  • Having found the place, a large portion of the voters had to face long waits caused by time-consuming searches for names on the electors’ lists.  Many of those delays (often up to 20 minutes long – in line-ups that contained no more than three or four people) were caused by electors not being listed on electors lists that would have been logical choices for them being listed, while there was no information at all as to what the geographical boundaries of the areas were for which they should have been listed.
  • Those problems were compounded by the frequent need for having to register electors or to have to correct their address and contact details.

It seemed that, at the time of the advance poll, those problems were, if not specific to advance-polling procedures, at least aggravated through those procedures.

Having also helped at the regular and final poll, yesterday, it became obvious that the problems arising out of the “stringent new proof-of-identity requirements” were endemic to the election procedure.

  • The vast majority (about 70 percent and more) of voters required corrections to their addresses and contact details.  A very large portion of voters required to be registered; even many that were older voters who had been registered many years before and never had changed their addresses.
  • Some electors got tired of waiting to make it through the resulting line-ups and left without casting their ballots.
  • I heard of some electors who, upon seeing the large line-ups at the polls, did not even join the line-ups and quite simply went home.
  • Anyone who joined the line-ups had to wait for a considerable amount of time before they could cast their ballot.
  • The average waiting time was about one hour during the last four hours the polling station was open.

The general impression I gained from the ordeal the voters were put through was that if anyone would have wanted to sabotage the voting procedures, the best way to do it and to get away with doing it would have been to design it to be run the way it was run.

After we closed the doors to the polling station, yesterday, it still took over a half hour before the last person waiting to vote then had a chance to cast her ballot.

It would not surprise me at all if the anger expressed by a good number of voters at our polling station, due to the consequences of what can only be described as a giant bureaucratic screw-up, resulted at some of the polling stations in Canada in the eruption of fisticuffs.

Just as many of the voters stated, I agree that never in my life did I experience such long waiting times for anyone who voted, waiting times that were many times longer than what anyone had ever experienced previously.

Neither my wife nor I will ever bother to vote again in federal elections, especially not in view of the fact that the Canadian electoral system and resulting “democratic system” will produce nothing better than an elected dictatorship run by the Prime Minister’s Office, a bureaucratic sector that is far more powerful and costs far more to run than the House of Commons.

After the last ballot had been cast at our polling station (one half hour after the doors to the polling station had been closed), it took us another three hours before all of the counting and associated paper work was done.

It had been a gruelling day that was more than 15 hours long, an experience that neither my wife nor I wish to repeat.  By the way, not a single legitimate scrutineer who represented any of the electoral candidates was present at the counting of the ballots.

It has been that way for decades, but yesterday’s experience underscored it,  democracy in Canada is dead.

The mother (92-years old) of one of our friends had never missed an election for as long as she had been eligible to vote.  Our friend asked her why she did not vote in this federal election.  Our friend’s mother replied, “Why bother?  They all lie!”

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