Are you confused by the Brad Butt affair? We can’t imagine why. Look, it’s simple: The Con MP for Mississauga-Streetsville rose in the House twice on February 6th to say, in defense of the Fair Elections Act, that he’d personally witnessed voter fraud going on in the lobby of “an apartment building.” Then he rose on February 24th to say that actually, um, no, he hadn’t. Then he found more important things to do than to explain why he’d said he had, or why he’d decided to confess he hadn’t.
So then on Monday the Speaker of the House said that, while accuracy in Parliament is of “primordial importance,” he didn’t really know what to do and he’d let the MPs decide. Then the Conservatives invoked closure to make sure the ensuing debate ended as quickly as possible, and used their majority to vote against looking into the matter any further.
What exactly is not clear about that?
However, to continue bringing you up to speed, we offer Alison@Creekside‘s most recent reporting on the matter (in reverse chronological order because, of course, that will also help bring clarity). And to further clarify things: No, Brad Butt did not star in the TV series “Corner Gas.” That was Brent Butt, who continues to earn an honest living.
— Frank Moher
March 3, 2014
Today, Steve’s partisan puppet Speaker Andrew Scheer punted a decision about Brad Butt lying to the House twice about personally witnessing vouching election fraud back to the House for debate. Because you can lie in the House, apparently — you just can’t use the words “lie” or “liar.”
You’ll recall this bs about vouching encouraging voter fraud was the excuse the Cons gave to explain why they want their Fair Elections Act to prohibit vouching in future elections. And Butt sits on the committee studying it — PROC, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, consisting of 6 Cons, 3 NDPers, and a Lib.
So a motion on whether to send the matter of Butt making shit up over to the committee Butt sits on for further study was debated until House Leader Peter Van Loan signalled he would call closure on it. So that’s that — end of story.
Part of the debate on Butt’s calandra-ing consisted of nutter Con MP Steven Fletcher, himself a former Minister for Democratic Reform, trying to bring a motion he termed “contempt of Canada” against the NDP because they declined his invitation to stand up as one and proclaim Canada’s political system is better than Russia’s.
Unlike the Cons, at least people in Ukraine already know that.
February 24, 2014
The Butt of Fair Elections Act fraud
Con MP Brad Butt, who sits on the PROC Committee reviewing the Cons new Fair Elections Act, alleged in the HoC on Feb 6 that he had personally witnessed evidence of vouching voter fraud in his riding.
Today as the G&M informs us: Conservative MP backtracks on claims he personally witnessed voter fraud.
Or as Butt put it himself on Twitter this morning: “I misspoke during debate and corrected the record.”
But he made that allegation in the House not once that day, as the G&M reports, but twice.
He had an hour to think over his first misspeak before he stood up and repeated it again.
You can watch him here on Hansard by clicking on “View the video” at the timestamp next to his name under “Explore by Members.” Hansard does not give an exact translation of his remarks, so with the aid of their handy video option, I’ve corrected it in blue.
Feb 6 2014 @16:19 : Brad Butt, Mississauga-Streetsville:
“Mr. Speaker, I want to talk a bit about this vouching system again. I know the minister represents an urban city. I am from a semi-urban area of Mississauga, where there are many high-rise apartment buildings. So one of the things that I have seen — On mail delivery day when the voter cards are delivered to community mailboxes in apartment buildings, we often find that many of them are discarded in the garbage can or the blue box. I have actually witnessed other people coming in, picking up the voter cards, going back to the campaign office of whatever candidate they support and handing out these voter cards to other individuals, who then walk into voting stations with a friends who then vouches for them with no ID.
Does the minister not believe this kind of thing will get cleaned up properly with this bill?”
“I think my friend from York South-Weston will appreciate this because, just like the riding I represent, he has a lots of apartment buildings in his riding as well. I will relate to him something I have actually seen. Here’s what I’ve seen. I’ve actually seen this on the ground. On the mail delivery day when voter cards are put in those mailboxes, residents come home, pick them out of their boxes, and throw them in the garbage can. And I have seen campaign workers follow up after that, pick up a dozen of them afterward, and walk out. Now why are they doing that, Mr Speaker? They are doing it so they can hand those cards to other people, who will then be vouched for at a voting booth and vote illegally. That is going to stop.”
Other Con members of the Procedures and House Affairs Committee [6 Cons, 3 NDPers, and a Lib] reviewing the Fair Elections Act alongside Butt include Con Chair Joe Preston and Con MP Scott Reid, plus:
Con MP Ted Opitz, the most recent member of Harper’s Perps with Perks for donating $9,000 to his nomination campaign and thereby being cited by Elections Canada for exceeding his allowed expenses by nearly $7,000. Opitz’ campaign manager also allegedly shut down a poll and frightened away seniors trying to vote during the last federal election — which he won by 26 votes. This same campaign manager was recruited by Nick Kouvalis of Campaign Research to work on Rob Ford’s election campaign in 2010.
Con MP Tom Lukiwski, whose riding was the occasion of deceptive push-poll robocalls he blamed on Steve’s director of political operations, Jenni Byrne.
Con MP Blake Richards — fined $14,400 by the CRTC for two anonymous robocall campaigns in 2012.
Gosh, I wonder if any of these committee members are carrying a grudge about elections law.
Making up the minority voices on the PROC committee are Lib MP Liberal Kevin Lamoureux, and NDPers Craig Scott, Dave Christopherson, and Alexandra Latendresse.
Update : Arggghhh.
According to James Sprague, senior general counsel at Elections Canada until 2006:
“the bill tabled by the government earlier this month actually may prevent Marc Mayrand, the chief electoral officer, from reporting to Parliament on the results of an investigation into allegations of dirty calls across the country.
The new act would forbid the Commissioner of Canada Elections, Yves Cote — who is in charge of investigating election crime — from disclosing “any information relating to an investigation that comes to their knowledge in the exercise of their powers.”
Sprague says that means Canadians may never learn what investigators uncover about fraudulent and deceptive telephone calls in the past election.
…the act will prevent the commissioner from discussing investigations with Elections Canada, so Mayrand will not be able to report on the investigators’ work. Instead, the director of public prosecutions will include information about the commissioner’s work in an annual report to the justice minister, but, Sprague says “that report cannot set out the details of any investigation.”
Just read the whole thing, keeping in mind the makeup of the committee studying it.