It doesn’t matter who authorized the Robo calls in 12 to 18 federal ridings and it won’t matter if some minor Conservative functionary is eventually identified and fined as Mr. Harper states he is anxious to see.
What does matter is that the Robo calls reduced the participation rates in more than a dozen key ridings, the Conservative minority-majority depends on less. Reducing the participation rate, reduces the progressive vote across the board but has less impact on the belief based vote upon which the Harper party depends. It is very clear since Brian Mulroney won the 1988 election with 40 per cent of the vote which he decided was sufficient to endorse free trade whereas 60 per cent of Canadians had voted against free trade that the ensuing decline in voting federally has strongly advantaged belief based and far right voters (Harper supporters) who continue to elect minority majorities.
There is only one way this particular scandal can be corrected. A by-election must be held in all the ridings where citizens received phone calls masquerading as an Elections Canada notification that their normal voting station had been changed. Identifying the hapless scapegoat is worse than meaningless because it will send the message that corrupt election practices work and voting itself is nothing more than a game for powerful interests. This is a fork in the road comparable to the Ignatieff moment when the Liberal leader refused to vote against the Harper budget and chose partisan politics over co-operation and patriotism.
The question today is: Will Canada rise to this new challenge and demand that honest, transparent by by elections be held in the damaged federal ridings or will it all dissolve into another comic but helpless Mercer rant? I fear for the latter as there has never been so much information available and so little understanding of what it all means.