It has been dubbed the Robocall scandal. Everybody needs to be concerned about this - here's why.
Up until now, elections have been one thing Canadians seem to have been really good at. After all, we had them so often in the past decade. Our elections are peaceful. You show up. You mark an "x" in the box. Your voice gets counted.
So many countries just don't have elections. Or when they do, there is only one name on the ballot. Or there are gangs of thugs with clubs and guns riding around on election day telling you who to vote for.
Our voting system is so simple it is almost foolproof. Attempts at wide scale fraud would be all but impossible inside the polling stations. Someone, it seems, took it upon themselves to keep Canadian voters from reaching those polling stations in the first place.
Elections Canada has said it received 31,000 reports of strange or misleading phone calls during the last election. They've set up a special space on their website where people can report what happened.
Some have claimed this is not such a big deal. The number of complaints is less than a one-thousandth of the total Canadian population. But keep in mind that barely half of all eligible voters actually bother to vote.
Then realize that with our first-past-the-post system, a riding can be won or lost with just a handful of votes. If thirty ridings hinge on one thousand votes, and one thousand voters are misled in each of those ridings, the entire balance of power in the House of Commons could change.
More importantly, it's the principle of the matter. Whether or not the desired result was achieved, the attempt was made.
We don't yet know if a single political party was behind these calls. But certainly an individual or persons was behind them, whether there were 30 calls or 30,000 calls.
If and when those individuals are identified they should be charged with nothing less than treason. Stuffing a ballot box is voter fraud. Attempting to undermine the most basic democratic principle in this country is treason.