After weeks of news reports, bickering in the House of Commons and thousands of complaints, Canadians across the country have become fed up with Ottawa and took to the streets Sunday afternoon to protest the robocall scandal.
More than 20 Canadian cities held rallies protesting the alleged election fraud scandal, including Calgary, Guelph, Montreal, Vancouver and Winnipeg. The protests were part of a countrywide movement called “The National Day of Action Against Election Fraud.” Thousands of voters took part in the demonstrations and directed their anger towards Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party.
One of the primary purposes of the rallies was to call for an independent inquiry. Although the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Elections Canada are investigating the matter, protesters say they are not independent and would rather have a Parliamentary Inquiry.
The robocall scandal has been plastered all over the newspapers since last month’s press conference held by interim Liberal leader Bob Rae
. The Liberals and the New Democratic Party accuse the Conservatives of making misleading automated calls to voters, in which it told them to go to the wrong voting station in last year’s federal election.
However, Harper has repeatedly denied these accusations
and has claimed that there is evidence that points towards the Liberals.
It was recently reported
that there were anti-Conservative robocalls being delivered in Guelph in days leading up to the election. The Liberal robocalls accused the Conservative candidate of being opposed to abortion in all circumstances, but Liberals say these are not "voter suppression tactics."
Hundreds in Toronto
In Toronto, more than 500 people gathered at Yonge-Dundas Square and carried placards stating, “Harper = Evil,” “Harper is a Criminal: He’s Murdering Democracy” and “We See Through Harper and His Lies.” The protesters also shouted for a new election and said, “Election crime, election time.”
Following the rally at Yonge-Dundas Square, they marched along Yonge Street to Queen Street and ended their protest in front of Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets. In front of the crowd was NDP Member of Parliament Olivia Chow.
Organizers of Sunday’s event believe that voter apathy in Canadian politics is no longer prevalent. One person in the crowd even held up a sign that read, “Canadians do care!” As the speakers were on the top of the truck talking to the marchers, both gentlemen urged individuals on the sidewalk to join them.
Public inquiry support
One Leadnow.ca petition
is making the rounds on the Internet that is being sent to Harper, Rae, interim NDP leader Nycole Turmel, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Quebecois Parliamentary leader Louis Plamondon. The petition demands a public investigation “to expose the facts about the robocall scandal and ensure the penalties for any election fraud matches the consequences of the crime – including possible new elections.”
More than 42,000 people have signed the petition.
A new poll released over the weekend
suggests that 75 percent of Canadians support an independent inquiry into the robocalls. Respondents are also cautious in whether or not Elections Canada will solve the problem.
Furthermore, the same study found that 47 percent approve of Harper’s majority government, while 52 percent disapprove.
The Ipsos-Reid online and telephone survey was conducted for Postmedia News and Global TV with 3,154 Canadians last week.