The election is over. I am very happy to have had the opportunity to run. This is my last political post until the next election. I'm sure that all of my friends and regular followers are greatly relieved to read this. I wrote this letter yesterday and forwarded it to three local papers. It will be interesting to see if it is published. I learned a lot about my community and our society during this grand adventure. Here is something for you all to ponder. Comments and reaction welcome!
What Kind of Canada Are We Really?
I write this as most of my Canadian brothers and sisters are on their way to vote in this critical 2019 federal election. I write this now as I do not want to be accused of having the final vote tally colour my words and diminish this message.
The Russians have their hands full with our American neighbours, so I won’t pick on them. Canada is experiencing significant tensions with China at the moment. If tomorrow we learned that the Chinese government had made a concerted effort to meddle in our election, would we be out raged? Why then are we so complacently silent to the blatant domestic interference in this election happening all around us, often right before our eyes?
Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees us:
Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms
1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
• (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
• (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
• (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
• (d) freedom of association.
3. Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.
Section 81.1 of the Elections Canada Act gives broad rights to candidates during an election campaign. Yet there is blatant obstruction of these rights being experienced by many candidates, myself included. A few examples.
I was standing in a safe place on the shoulder of the Pat Bay Highway about 50 metres north of Claremont Avenue waving to potential voters on the Friday of the Thanksgiving weekend. Apparently, someone complained to the police. A very unfriendly female Saanich Police officer arrived and told me in no uncertain terms that I had to leave. There are no signs at that location prohibiting parking as there are near the Elk Lake Boat house on the opposite of the highway about a half kilometre further north. I politely asked the constable what bylaw or section of the Motor Vehicle Act she was enforcing. She could not answer me. I left without making a fuss. Constable Brent Robertson of the Central Saanich Police Service took the time to look up the relevant section of the Motor Vehicle Act when I made inquiries at his office.
Several days later I met with Staff Sergeant Andy Walsh of the Saanich Police, related the incident that had taken place on Thanksgiving Friday and provided him with a copy of the Elections Canada Act Section 81.1. I was assured that I would not have any further issues engaging with voters in the same manner as I had the previous Friday.
I learned of an all candidate meeting being held at Claremont Secondary School. I had not been invited. I made inquiries with the organizers and was told that I was not invited as I was not a candidate for a mainstream party. I arrived for that meeting anyway armed with a letter from the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada outlining my candidate rights. After a brief but confrontational discussion I was allowed to participate. I was prepared for a scenario very similar to the one experienced by independent candidate Dr. Philip Ney at the Prospect Lake Community Centre.
Yesterday, Sunday October 20th, I was shown a video of Dr. Ney’s arrest at an all candidate meeting in the Prospect Lake Community Centre. On the audio track a Saanich Police constable can clearly be heard telling Dr. Ney that he was under arrest for causing a disturbance. What disturbance? A few seconds later he is once again told that he is under arrest, two constables grab him by the arms and begin to walk him out of the meeting. What was his crime? He is an approved candidate registered with Elections Canada and officially on the ballot for the riding of Esquimalt – Saanich – Sooke. This was an infringement of Dr. Ney’s rights, a violation of section 81.1 of the Elections Canada Act and a blatantly false arrest.
I and other candidates have experienced a rash of campaign sign thefts and vandalism. There are numerous police investigations underway. Central Saanich Police have in fact arrested and charged two Central Saanich residents with Mischief to Property under $5000 related to election sign vandalism in their jurisdiction. I have lost over 100 signs to malicious vandalism. One extremely egregious act was captured on video and has been shared extensively on social media. What troubles me more than the vandalism itself is the number of vehicles driving by as the rather stout young female viscously rips and stabs my signs on the center grass median of Shelbourne Street on a sunny day. Nobody saw this? Nobody reported it to the police.
Individuals who engage in this type of activity are domestic electoral terrorists. They are interfering with my right as a candidate to promote my campaign. They are interfering with voters’ rights to be fully informed of who the candidates are and which political parties are available for them to choose on election day. If the Chinese government did this same thing electronically via social media what would our response be?
Some of our so called free and unbiased media are not reporting on all of the candidates. CHEK TV recently did a news story on my riding of Saanich Gulf Islands. Elizabeth May, Green Party leader and incumbent enjoyed prime coverage. The Liberal, NDP and Conservative candidates were interviewed briefly. A quick flash of my campaign lawn sign was shown. That was all of the coverage that my party and my individual campaign received in this “fair, balanced and unbiased” piece of “journalism” by CHEK TV. Is this fair to you the voter trying to make a truly informed decision today? It certainly isn’t fair to me.
All of this aside, I am truly honoured and humbled to have had the experience of running in this election. I have met a lot of really interesting people, engaged in some terrific conversations, learned a great deal more about my own community and had way more fun that I ever could have imagined. No matter what the final vote tally reveals tonight, I am so happy that I made the decision to run in this election. Any result is both a personal victory for me and a huge victory for our democratic process. I hope that my voice in this campaign has helped to make us a better Canada than what I and other candidates experienced during this campaign.
Ron Broda, Candidate (hopefully your next MP)
People’s Party of Canada
Saanich Gulf Islands
Thank you for your support in electing me as your People’s Party of Canada MP.
Saanich Gulf Islands PPC EDA - 2060 White Birch Rd, Sidney BC, BC V8L2R1, Canada
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