The Conservative Party campaign co-chair agrees with a former top Elections Canada official on one thing — the courts should throw the book at whoever is behind calls to deliberately mislead voters in the 2011 election. Lawyer Guy Giorno, Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff now back in the private sector, told CTV’s Question Period that “suppression of vote is a despicable, reprehensible practice and everybody ought to condemn it. “So I wish Godspeed to Elections Canada and the RCMP investigators. We want them to get to the bottom of this and let’s hope the full weight of the law is applied to any and all.”
Giorno, like other top Conservatives, said something clearly went awry in the riding of Guelph, and suggested it was limited to that. But he denied there was any connection to the official campaign, and denied there was any possibility that something akin to mere “old fashioned dirty tricks” could have taken place without his knowledge. “We had processes and structures in place to ensure that that didn’t happen, so the short answer is no.” He would not specify what checks and balances there were, nor what kind of oversight the national campaign had on local campaigns’ get-out-the-vote efforts.
It was another shift in the official Conservative response to allegations being raised across the country that “robo-calls” of automated messages and the use of live telephone operators deliberately set out to misdirect voters to wrong poll locations.
Jean-Pierre Kingsley, the former chief electoral officer, in an interview with Global TV’s The West Block said that if there was no conspiracy — as Conservatives have suggested — but possibly a lone or rogue operative misdirecting voters, there should be no leniency: “Not in light of what was being attempted here.”