Allegations of vote buying, fraudulent use of absentee ballots — it’s the stuff of Third World politics.
It’s truly a sad day in this city’s history when allegations of election fraud surface within three weeks of Surrey’s civic elections. Or any time, for that matter.
But the timing could not have been worse, as the RCMP now has precious little time to investigate these allegations before Surrey residents go to the polls on Oct. 20 to elect a new mayor, council and school board.
Canadians have fought and died in wars to preserve our democratic system.
Many people from other countries, some without free votes and others oppressed under bogus electoral systems, come to Canada with the express purpose of exercising their legitimate voting franchise in what has been hailed as a relatively scam-free system.
Wake Up Surrey, a grassroots organization aiming to curb gang violence in this city, did the right thing by lodging its complaint with the RCMP and Elections BC. The group claims to have “learned of vote buying offers in the South Asian community which is another attempt to suppress registered voters and undermine our democratic process.”
But even before learning of this group’s complaint, Surrey’s Chief Election Officer Anthony Capuccinello Iraci voiced his own suspicions of unlawful activity to police. He has taken pains to assure voters that the integrity of the elections process is intact.
But even if it is, how much damage has already been done? As they say, in politics perception is everything. It’s almost like doping scandals in Olympic games, but much worse. Even unproven allegations cast a pall over the entire election.
Will the voting public harbour doubts about the outcome of the election? To shed light on this shadow, the RCMP must work with considerable haste.