Liberals win majority as Canadians overcome voter suppression to defeat Harper
Canadians coast to coast to coast voted out unpopular Prime Minister Stephen Harper and ushered in a Liberal majority government under Justin Trudeau amid reports of widespread voter suppression.
Voters in Ontario, British Columbia and New Brunswick reported receiving ballots pre-marked in favour of Conservatives, including an entire book of ballots marked for the Tory candidate Alice Wong in Richmond, BC.
“I received my ballot and went behind the screen, then took a moment to observe it, and realized that it had been marked already,” Richmond voter Lester Lee reported. “Concerned I took the ballot back to my polling volunteer and showed him. He immediately agreed and provided me a new ballot, destroying the old one. I took that one behind the screen and again observed the same markings.”
“Both ballots had been marked under the Conservative candidate’s name, Alice Wong,” he added. “I was suspicious and returned, a number of us checked through the unmarked ballots and discovered that every ballot in their small book (Perhaps a dozen ballots) had been similarly marked.”
Alice Wong went on to win the race by just 463 votes.
Elections Canada have downplayed the concerns as printing errors, but have so far been unable to explain why almost all such ballots were marked in favour of the Conservatives with a few going for Greens and independents, and none being in favour of the Liberals or the NDP.
Other voters turned up at polling places only to find that someone else had already cast their ballots.
“My name was crossed off the list as if I had already voted” Daniel Schott reported. “Poll workers told me someone voted fraudulently in my name.”
“My name was already crossed off as having voted when I arrived at the polling station,” Aimee Guile tweeted.
“My name was already crossed off the list as if I had voted,” PamelaWootton said. “Computer generated list – how can it be wrong?”
Meanwhile, other voters reported receiving flyers from the Conservative campaign teams misdirecting them to the wrong polling places.
Some other voters found the polling stations closed when they turned up to vote, while elections staff ran out of ballots at one First Nations location after receiving just 400 ballots for a population of 7,200 residents.
A voter turnout of 68.5% appears to have mitigated the effects of election irregularities and ensured a comfortable victory for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, who ended the night with 184 seats.
Outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, who have been convicted of criminal electoral cheating at the last three elections, managed to hold on to 99 seats.
A disappointing night for Thomas Mulcair saw the NDP being reduced to just 45 seats and losing their official opposition status.
“We beat fear with hope,” Justin Trudeau said in his victory speech at the Liberal Party headquarters in Montreal. “We beat cynicism with hard work. We beat negative, divisive politics with a positive vision that brings Canadians together.”