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Expert says Liberal’s C-19 could compromise election integrity

Bill C-19 passed second reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 330-1, with independent MP Derek Sloan casting the only opposing vote. The legislation purports to allow a safe election with mail-in voting during the pandemic.

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A University of Western Ontario professor is concerned Bill C-19 could compromise the integrity of the federal election.

Associate Professor of Software Engineering Aleksander Essex is familiar with election problems from hackable computerized voting machines, but has grown familiar with other ways elections can be stolen.

When the Western Standard asked Essex if Bill C-19 could lead to a skewed election, he said, “Probably not, but possibly yes.”

Bill C-19 passed second reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 330-1, with independent MP Derek Sloan casting the only opposing vote. The legislation purports to allow a safe election with mail-in voting during the pandemic, but Essex said the current system is hard to beat.

“Federally, Canada has had one of the all-time best methods of casting and counting ballots in terms of public accountability and oversight. So the implications of changing the formula must be carefully considered,” Essex said.

“And while mail-in voting is strongly preferred relative to its online voting counterpart, Canada needs to better consider the implications of over-weighting the number of ballots marked in an unsupervised remote environment.

“There are several reasons. Let me focus on one.: The Canada Elections Act (sec. 163) could not be more clear: ‘the vote is secret.’ In a supervised polling place, we can enforce privacy, and we can call the cops when ruffians show up and start causing trouble. There would be lots of eyewitnesses to any funny business.

“But, voting remotely provides little means of enforcing this fundamental protection. We can’t see that domineering family member instructing family members how to vote. We can’t see people gathering around the kitchen table having ‘voting parties.’ We can’t see people buying ballots for $20 a pop. Detection and enforcement, if it ever occurs, is retroactive … after the privacy violation has occurred. And it typically would happen only in cases that rose to the level of an actual complaint.”

Nearly half of Ontario municipalities use computer voting machines. Essex’s warnings that they can be hacked usually fall on deaf ears. However, his outspokenness on the subject has moved others to reach out to him when they encounter election anomalies of various kinds. 

“I heard anecdotal accounts from candidates during the 2018 Ontario municipal election of family members or friends casting ballots on behalf of others … both with or without the person’s knowledge. In these cases, people either expressed ignorance or indifference to the offence, or an unwillingness to report their family member to the authorities over the matter,” Essex said.

The incumbent Liberals in Newfoundland and Labrador renewed power with a majority government after an election done completely by mail-in ballots. A COVID-19 outbreak in mid-February prompted provincial chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk to cancel all in-person voting set for Feb. 13. The results of the mail-in vote were announced March 27 following several deadline extensions. 

The province’s NDP filed a lawsuit that alleged voting irregularities so numerous and severe that a new election was necessary. Court documents shared with The Canadian Press allege Chaulk told Elections NL staff to register voters who didn’t have proper identification, and that he took ballot kits home and encouraged other employees to do the same.

The lawsuit was signed by NDP Leader Alison Coffin, who lost her seat in the St. John’s East-Quidi Vidi district by 53 votes. Her former constituent Whymarrh Whitby co-signed the lawsuit. He told The Canadian Press that, despite several requests, he did not receive a ballot from Elections NL.

Essex hopes the provisions of C-19 don’t last.

“If C-19 truly is meant to be a temporary measure during COVID, I don’t think it’s the end of the world. My concern would be it becomes a pathway to normalizing unsupervised remote voting,” he said.

Harding is a Western Standard correspondent based in Saskatchewan

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Mars Hill

    May 20, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    Chairman Xi is running Canada right now (:

  2. Mars Hill

    May 20, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    I believe the return to common law will fix this sort of stuff and I have a feeling it’s just around the corner.

  3. Left Coast

    May 20, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    We are well on the way to Venezuela William . . .
    Venezuela didn’t stop producing oil, the folks just could not run the refineries or the tanker loading facilities after Chauvez tossed out the foreigners who were doing the work.
    Canada on the other hand shut down 4 or more pipelines before they were built, the Post Wuhan Flu depression is going to be long & hard !
    There are few Politicians who understand what is going on in the world today and even fewer who have the ability to Lead.
    Don’t say anything bad about Chairman Xi on twitter . . . he has a long memory and could be running this country in less than a decade.

  4. William

    May 20, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    Anybody who believes this will be temporary is an idiot. We’ve just moved another step closer to becoming Venezuela.

  5. Left Coast

    May 20, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Are the other 330 on the CCP payroll?

    We just saw a US election last November where the counting stoped in 6 or 8 States a little past Midnight . . . the poll watchers were hustled out of the building and a few hours later trucks showed up with enough “Mail-in” ballots to change the outcome of the race.

    Audits going on today in Arizona, with the Demokkkrats & Media going insane and trying to stop the process. Audits proposed in Georgia, Utah, Michigan, Wisconsin and a couple of other states.

    A guy named Pullitzer has examined the Dominion Voting machines . . . they have found Modum Chips on the mother boards, and have hacked into them with an I-phone. You could adjust the “Weight” of a Vote . . . Candidate A .80 and Candidate B 1.2 . . . that would swing 20% of Candidate As vote to B . . . and the Leftist Media says “nothin to see here folks”!

  6. K

    May 20, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Wow. 330 to 1. There is literally 1 politician who is not corrupt that has any kind of power or knows what’s going on. Sad.

  7. Paul

    May 20, 2021 at 11:51 am

    couldn’t we just have voting stations in Walmart?

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Liberal Internet censorship plans no laughing matter

Provisions of the bill “are designed to chill speech” and would impose a “censorship regime” on Canadian internet users, said the Society.

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Jokes will be banned on the Internet if the Liberals get their way, says the Canadian chapter of the Internet Society.

Blacklock’s Reporter says the group has petitioned Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s department to drop his censorship bill.

“The scheme as a whole is aimed at the suppression of speech and cannot be justified in a free and democratic society,” said the Society whose members include a former federal judge.

“This is completely wrong,” the society wrote in a submission to the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Cabinet said if re-elected it would introduce Bill C-36 An Act To Amend The Criminal Code that lapsed in the last Parliament.

Provisions of the bill “are designed to chill speech” and would impose a “censorship regime” on Canadian internet users, said the society.

“The censorship regime is designed to favour censorship over free speech,” it said.

Parliament in 1970 banned hate speech under the Criminal Code, but Bill C-36 would expand the ban to legal content “likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group” under threat of $70,000 fines or house arrest.

The Department of Justice June 23 said the measures “would apply to public communications by individual users on the Internet, including on social media, on personal websites and in mass e-mails,” blog posts, online news sites, “operators of websites that primarily publish their own content” and user-comment sections.

“The proposed legislative scheme is contrary to the guarantees of free speech enshrined in the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms as it applies to lawful speech,” wrote the Internet Society.

“The Charter protects not only the expressive rights of Canadians but the right of Canadians to access the expression of others.”

Society board members include Konrad von Finckenstein, a former federal judge and ex-chair of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, former CRTC commissioner Tim Denton, three corporate lawyers, a former treasurer of the Canadian Media guild and ex-director of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority.

The Society called Bill C-36 a “wholly unprecedented” measure.

“A certain humility is necessary when Canada attempts to take on the role of policing all harmful speech, everywhere, in the name of protecting the sensibilities of Canadians,” it wrote.

“The scheme is unworthy of consideration by Parliament. Its implementation would diminish the rights of Canadians while failing in its purpose of protecting Canadians from internet harms. The proposal should be withdrawn.”

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Allison: Official bilingualism creates a regional power imbalance

Westerners must join the elite minority of bilinguals by learning a second language or be left behind when it comes to rising the ranks of Canada’s federal institutions.

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Bilinguals make up only 18% of our population, yet they dominate our federal institutions.

The reason for this is no secret. Canada’s official bilingualism, legally enshrined in the Official Languages Act (1969), gives a distinct advantage to one class of Canadians; bilinguals, over all others. The Act requires that federal institutions provide services in both French and English. The result is that 40% of federal public service jobs are “designated bilingual.” This means that some 300,000 jobs which make up our federal bureaucracies are available only to 18% of Canadians and closed to the other 82%

What does this mean for regional representation in our federal institutions? It means overrepresentation from Quebec and underrepresentation from the West. About 45% of Quebecers are bilingual whereas only 7% of those in the prairie provinces are bilingual. Thus, the pool of qualified candidates for federal public service jobs is going to be overwhelmingly filled with Quebecers while having scarcely any Westerners. As spokesman for Canadians for Language Fairness, Gordon Miller, writes: “The Official Languages Act has allowed this group [the “Laurentian elite”] to dominate the federal government bureaucracy and further entrench the dominance of the Eastern provinces in federal affairs.”

The Laurentian elite does dominate the federal public service. A total of 67% of the federal public service is made up of Quebecers and Ontarians and only 11% are from the prairie provinces. Of course, official bilingualism is not the only cause that has explanatory power in the case of this discrepancy. The federal capital being located on the border between the two most populous provinces also plays a significant role in determining the regional makeup of the federal public service (a separate and distinct advantage that the Laurentians have over Westerners in controlling federal institutions). In fact, 42% of federal public service employees live in the National Capital Region in Ottawa-Gatineau.

But, when it comes to those who rise the ranks in Canada’s federal bureaucracy, official bilingualism provides an explanation for its overwhelmingly Quebecer makeup. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Richard Wagner, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal Marc Noël, the Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson for the National Film Board of Canada Claude Joli-Coeur, the Director and CEO of the Canada Council of the Arts Simon Brault, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Stéphane Perrault, and the Director of CSIS David Vigneault are all Quebecers. The board of directors for the CBC, is also made up of 33% Quebecers with only one member hailing from the prairie provinces — Jennifer Moore Rattray from Manitoba. As Washington Post columnist, J.J. McCullough, suggests: “It is really hard to argue that by some massive coincidence the most qualified people for all of these jobs just happen to be Quebecers.”

Indeed, it is no coincidence. Since all federal institutions must provide services in both French and English, it is likely to have a bilingual in charge of these federal bureaucracies in order to ensure that these institutions run smoothly. As a result, Quebecers with their disproportionate number of bilinguals, have come to dominate the highest ranks of these bureaucracies.

Official bilingualism lays the groundwork for these regional disparities in Canada’s federal bureaucracies. Quebecers are overwhelmingly more likely to be bilingual than Westerners. As such, Westerners must join the elite minority of bilinguals by learning a second language or be left behind when it comes to rising the ranks of Canada’s federal institutions.

Andrew Allison is a PhD philosophy student at the University of Calgary
andrew.allison@ucalgary.ca

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Sask removes QR codes from vaccine passports

Residents will be able to download their proof of vaccination record on Saturday, but the QR code will not be included.

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Saskatchewan is temporarily removing QR codes from its vaccine passports after privacy breaches were found.

The government said the vaccination records of up to 19 residents have the potential to display another person’s QR code.

The province said one person’s private information has been “erroneously captured.”

That person has been notified, as has the Office of the Information and Privacy Officer of Saskatchewan.

Residents will be able to download their proof of vaccination record on Saturday, but the QR code will not be included.

“Citizens who have already printed/downloaded/captured the QR code on their COVID-19 vaccination record between September 19-24, are asked to destroy/delete any records with their COVID-19 QR code as the code will be made invalid,” the government said in a release.

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