Friday, October 16, 2015



Went to vote in the advance poll in Etobicoke Lakeshore and gave up because of the tedious and amateurish approach to the identificaton of voters as if the officials for a day feared an influx of terrorists and frauds.
It should take just a few seconds to check proof of identity. There's no need to turn it into an occupation. With only one choice, it just takes a few seconds to mark the ballot. It just takes a few seconds to deposit it.
What gives with all the marathon delays? What's the point of voters' cards if they're not also used for identity?
So I was just one of many who had no intention of wasting an hour or more when I can vote in 10 minutes on election day providing the election officials settle down and demonstrate more sense.
Judging from the stories across the country, the advance polls were screwed up because the people guarding the ballot boxes would have lost a race to a turtle ... and not just the chocolate kind.
Ironically, this will hurt the Conservatives because there will be a perception that it is the government in charge of elections, not an independent arm's-length body which generally is as thick as oak planks in handling the public.
 Nope, you can't blame Harper for this.
 I have had conversations with the chiefs in counting the provincial and federal votes and always regarded them as bureaucrats crippled by the fear of PR failure from doing a quick and simple task.
I think our elections now are the most honest in our history. The fraud that was so prevalent, for starters in Quebec and the Maritimes - the ballot for a bottle days - seems to have been weaned out of the system. Unfortunately the patronage remains!
I  speak from experience. My first federal election was thrown out by the Yukon Supreme Court because it  ruled that 10% of the ballots, including mine, were illegal, improper or outright frauds.
My stories on this were printed in Time magazine and throughout North America.
The United States seems to have improved too from the days when it was alleged that JFK became president only because of the vote corruption in Chicago.
Now the hassles and hurdles over identification in the U.S. are seen, and accurately too, as a Republican gambit to limit the black vote. As the media and Democrats have pointed out, the amount of fraud in recent elections is remarkably low and doesn't justify the red tape barriers being thrown up against the registration of minority voters.
It is to be hoped that voters here don't just throw up their hands and not vote as the charges, muck and  insults fly, and it becomes difficult to remember just what Justin Trudeau is in favour of other than the teaching of his course in drama in hight school.  (I may have been in all the school plays but I never thought a credit in drama was that useful in life, or that teaching drama was good training for a PM.)
In my home riding of Etobicoke Lakeshore, it is particularly important to pay attention because the New Democrats have resorted to one of the oldest tricks in the chicanery business of elections. Their candidate is Phil Trotter who was raised in Montreal. I would assume that any similarity between his name and that of the incumbent, Tory MP Bernard Trottier, is totally intentional.
I would imagine that Ruth and Terry Grier, who represented the riding at all levels for the NDP,  are embarrassed by that, although I can cite other examples from the NDPers and Liberals about picking candidates who just happen to have a similar name to the favourite and would appear before them on the ballot to fool those not watching too carefully.
Another curious sidelight is the emergence of former mayors in the campaign with Rob Ford clutching at Stephen Harper, who went to Richview Collegiate in Ford territory, and Hazel McCallion calling Harper a liar in support of the Liberal dynasty.
Much as I've been critical of Ford over the years, two points should be remembered. He was never convicted or even charged in all this nonsense in Toronto, and his cancer certainly is dramatic proof that his entire system, including his thinking, was under assault by a deadly killer.
Of course Hazel can't say that since she was convicted on a municipal conflict of interest charge raised in the Sun by me, and found guilty again on appeal, and similar charges kept being made against her.
Indeed, I would argue that if the Liberal mouthpiece, the Star, had undertaken the same scrutiny of her activities as it did of his, the Liberals would now be fleeing in horror from any endorsement.
Trust me, many political veterans don't put Hazel on any podium because they know her feet of clay extend to her neck.
As for the Fords reminding everyone that they are Harper supporters, there's not much the prime minister can do about that. You don't insult your friends even if you don't really like the way the Ford brothers operate.
 I was writing the autobiography of Ontario Conservative Kelso Roberts, who was leader in three different races to be premier. I said undercover cops had spotted him giving a big hello to a notorious gambler when he was AG.  His reply was he didn't know who the man was and a true gentleman always responds pleasantly when someone greets him.
Perhaps I shouldn't used that anecdote because Roberts was a courtly gentleman, and there are damn few of those in today's politics. But you sure don't get to be PM by being rude to people who say they support you even if they come with evil baggage.
All three major leaders have demonstrated that regularly since the Liberals and New Democrats have just as many black sheep, motor mouths and flimsy losers as the Tories, and I include the candidates with the supporters. More than a dozen candidates have been forced to quit by their parties since all this began, and then there are those who quietly quit.
But then, as the Bible said, let he who is without sin cast the first stone. It may be that the latest thinking is that this incident was not in the original Gospel but was added four centuries later.
But we all understand the compelling moral message as we sort out the cheaters and charlatans and decent people over their head from those whom we think just might do a decent job in representing us.
When someone is trumpeting in TV ads that another politician is lying, check their record before you believe them.

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