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Why We Should Investigate the Robocalls Investigation

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My recent Access to Information request revealed that Elections Canada has spent almost $780,000 chasing the fantasy that Conservatives robocalled Canadians into voting in the wrong places in the May 2011 federal election.

But despite such a ridiculous theory being disproven time and time again -- by journalists, bloggers, and first-hand campaign staffers -- Elections Canada continues to investigate.

There must be some driving force behind continuing this investigation even with such damming evidence that nothing illegal (besides the Liberals' robocalls in Guelph, of course) actually took place.

In a previous post I wrote that the Commissioner's Office spent $192,203.48 on "Investigators' Fees and Salaries." So who are these investigators?

Does the name Andre Thouin sound familiar?

Thouin is the same Elections Canada employee who led RCMP officials (and plenty of media) to Conservative Party headquarters to execute a search warrant regarding the "In and Out" debate.

But Thouin is not an employee of Elections Canada, rather an independent contractor. He's not listed as an employee on the federal government employee directory and he's filed returns as an independent government contractor for the past several years.

Are you connecting the dots yet? An independent contractor with a known history of dragging media into legal investigations -- to Conservative headquarters for sensational propaganda shots -- is now working for Elections Canada on an investigation into whether the Conservatives illegally robocalled Canadians.

In what other democracy would you throw an obviously partisan individual into the middle of an investigation that must remain neutral? And then allow him to bill Canadians over $33,000, no less?

Could Elections Canada really not handle its own investigation? It had to outsource one of the Commissioner's primary mandates to private firms who are anything but neutral?

Furthermore, how did Elections Canada a) decide on which contractors to hire; and b) how much those contractors would be paid, considering the robocalls investigation was not a foreseen Elections Canada expense?

And finally, why have the investigators all seemingly been given $78,444.35 contracts? That's an odd number, don't you think?

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