Former Harper Communications Director Calls Fair Elections Act Vengeance

A huge stunner from Harper’s former Communications Director Geoff Norquay today on CBC’s Power and Politics, suggesting that the Fair Elections Act is vengeance on the Chief Electoral Officer for bringing in charges regarding two Conservative MP’s for their role in the “in and out” scandal.

Norquay went on to explain that the “in and out” scheme was being used by all parties and developed at first by the Bloq Quebecois in the late 90’s.  Norquay has stated that the Conservative party feels discriminated against as a result of charges being brought forth on Conservative MP’s and not on any other party that had used this scheme in the past.

Many experts have weighed into the Fair Elections Act, all of which have come out against the bill, stating the bill would inhibit the powers of the Chief Electoral Officer to investigate election complaints.  One of the most trusted public figures –  former Auditor General Shelia Fraser –  has also expressed strong concerns.

Norquay’s “vengeance” comments stunned all of the members of the Power Panel to which he was commenting on. Norquay later tried to retract.  I will post the video of the panel when it becomes available online. Norquay is a regular contributor to the power panel.

While Conservatives may feel that they are being picked on by the Chief Electoral Officer, it is no reason to strip his powers to investigate if all political parties are in fact not playing by the rules.  That’s not how to deal with this situation. As soon as a ruling party changes law to seek “vengeance” on those who are in charge of bringing accountability to our electoral system, is as soon as we should be speaking about “recall” legislation in electoral reform to recall the leadership of a party when it gets to the point of vengeance.

UPDATE: The Episode of CBC’s Power and Politics is now up on the CBC site.  The full episode can be found here.  Power Panel discussion on Fair Elections Act starts at the 58:05 mark in the video. Embedded below is the exchange with Norquay:


Jason Koblovsky

Twitter: @jkoblovsky

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  1. #1 by James O'Grady on April 8, 2014 - 10:58 PM

    Jason, I’d like to republish this piece on is a social media site for people who write on current affairs or who have an opinion on a particular issue.
    Do you mind? Think of it as another channel to help extend the reach of your blog to new audiences.
    Please let me know… james at unpublishedmedia dot com


    • #2 by Jason Koblovsky on April 8, 2014 - 11:04 PM

      Feel free to republish anything on the site. All I ask is to be linked back to the original post.


  2. #3 by Stephanie on April 8, 2014 - 11:18 PM

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. I am assuming you are aware of harper’s history with Elections Canada, but just in case you are not, I am pasting a couple of relevant pieces.

    A fundraising letter harper wrote while working for the National Citizens Coalition in 2001….beginning with “The jackasses at Elections Canada are out of control”

    And from October 2013, a lengthy piece pulling all the various bits together about this conservative party and its conflict with Elections Canada

    What is Harper’s problem with Elections Canada?

    We need to understand the current attack on our electoral laws in the context of this history.

    I look forward to the clip from Power and Politics, it’s not up yet as far as I can see.


    • #4 by Jason Koblovsky on April 9, 2014 - 12:14 AM

      I’ve posted a link to the clip with an update at the bottom of the post. Electoral reform should not be used as a tool to seek vengeance on a democratic system that is built to ensure accountability. That’s deeply troubling, and deeply damaging to our democracy regardless of political ideology.

      If you are a Conservative reading this, what happens in the next election if the Liberals or NDP win, when the Chief Electoral Officer investigative powers are stripped? If all political parties are behaving badly, what’s going to happen to our electoral process in the future? It shouldn’t matter at this point what political stripe you belong to, other than being Canadian on this one.

      I think a lot of the partisanship is getting out of hand in Ottawa for a political party to come out and do something like this out of spite. Their heads so to speak are not in the right place. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail here, but unlikely with Pierre Poilievre at the helm with this, unless he starts taking yoga classes.


  3. #5 by Nadine Lumley on April 8, 2014 - 11:43 PM

    re Tory In-Out scheme

    I think I see another reason why Helena was dumped by Harper to make room for the fanatically CONwashed Dr. Kellie Lietch (her dad was a big oil man in Alberta):

    snip snip: The official agent for Helena Guergis, the Ontario MP and ousted Conservative cabinet minister, also said last week..

    … Guergis’s campaign refused HarperCON in the Reform Party’s (new Conservatives) election money “transfer” – aka the In-Out scheme.


  4. #6 by votedavedowling on April 9, 2014 - 12:51 AM

    Reblogged this on Dave Dowling and commented:
    Double WOWZERS!


  5. #7 by votedavedowling on April 9, 2014 - 12:53 AM

    IMO this is another of the many many reasons to: Support, Donate to and Vote for the opposition political parties. Pick one, give lots, get a sign, elections are coming!


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