Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

More Cherniak logic

Well, well. Infamous über-Liberal Jason Cherniak has been spreading the rumour that, in the last election, "Olivia Chow won because NDP supporters from across the city voted early and often at different polling stations in Trinity-Spadina."

Now, funnier bloggers than I have already done the snark thing, but what nobody's touched on is just how ludicrous the substance of this rumour is.

The fact is that Olivia Chow won her riding by more than 3500 votes in 2006. Therefore, in order for it to be true that she only won because of massive, coordinated voter fraud, there has to have been a highly organized effort among hundreds and hundreds of New Democrats from across Toronto to hop from poll to poll all day and vote, again and again.

Apparently, Cherniak thinks it is possible for party insiders to:

a) determine ahead of time which NDP supporters would be ruthless enough to take part in such an effort,

b) hold secret meetings to coordinate these hundreds of ruthless volunteers at the very same time that they're also coordinating vote scrutineering and a get-out-the-vote effort among the hundreds and hundreds of much more ordinary volunteers,

c) on Election Day, send them out and make sure each of them succeeds in convincing the trained, non-partisan Elections Canada employees to allow them to vote each time they try, with partisan Liberal scrutineers standing by to watch all this happen at each poll, and

d) manage to keep all of these hundreds of people so quiet that the first rumblings of it come out in the blog of a Liberal who doesn’t even live in the riding, over a year later.

I don't know about you folks, but I'd say that if Cherniak really thinks the NDP is that organized, that cunning, that secretive, and has that many extra volunteers to spare, it goes a long way toward explaining why he hates them so much.

[Update: Cherniak has looked into the details, realized he was wrong, and apologized (to his readers, though not to Olivia Chow or her campaign team).]


Yappa said...

I'm with you... it doesn't seem likely that Olivia Chow could have orchestrated such a huge voter fraud, or that with her long history in politics there wouldn't be some rumors if that was the way she behaved. It also just doesn't seem like her; she has a lot of integrity.

But this isn't purely a Cherniak rumor. After the last election there were tons of Liberal blogs talking about the Chow win with great bitterness and strong belief that she rigged the vote. I have no idea where that story got started, but the people who wrote about it seemed to believe it was true.

Anonymous said...

De-constructing Cherniak's rumours just stokes his ego.

The bitterness between the Liberal and Olivia's campaigns ran deep. (What was his name? Nice that it has been deleted from my memory!) He was Liberal-typical in his arrogant feeling of general entitlement and because of his reputation as being such a friend of new Canadians. As if that's all that people vote for...

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Whether or not Cherniak started the rumour, he chose to repeat it without discussing how ridiculous the very idea of it was. This means one of two things:

1) He's realized himself how ridiculous the rumour is, but thought that others might not have the smarts to realize that, and that by spreading it he could score some free points against Olivia Chow, or

2) He's unable to think rationally enough about the NDP that he honestly thinks there's a possiblity that the rumour might be true.

After scratching my head over his logical leaps for some time now, I'm not sure which option to think it is, but neither of them makes him look particularly good.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine if we were this organized, had this much labour at our disposal, and were that corrupt?! We'd be governing the country and spending public money on private luxuries. We'd be... well... essentially Liberals.

Greg said...

It kind of goes against the old joke that "I don't participate in organized politics. I'm NDP." ;)

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


*snicker* Yeah, there's that.

I don't think even the Big Red Machine would be big enough to organize thousands of votes of coordinated voter fraud, though.

Anonymous said...

By definition 'political parties ' (& politicians) are cunning & secretive. These are necessary traits. Wherever there is a loophole it will be found, but most loopholes have been closed by electoral officials & I have mostly faith in the Canadian systems.

I firmly believe Olivia was elected through the opinion of legitimate voters.

None of this stops me thinking that parties will use any means to increase popularity on voting day.

NO ONE said...

It's actually interesting that he has any credibility left at all.

When does the point arrive whereby we can call him "not worth paying attention to anymore?"

George said...

It's actually interesting that he has any credibility left at all.

He doesn't; that's the point. He's become the laughing stock of the blogging and political communities.

Sooner or later, someone in the Liberal Party will give him the boot from the party for his over-the-top blogging.

susansmith said...

It's actually interesting that he has any credibility left at all.

That's right Werner, and that's the main point. He is the lead of lib-blogers and represents the 'new face' which is like the 'old face.' You know, meet the new boss just like the old boss.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Well, I won't try to convince you that the New Democrats I've known would have too much integrity to do anything like this, since I have no way to prove it. But even if the Trinity-Spadina NDP had desperately wanted to orchestrate a massive election fraud, they would still have been limited to what was feasible. This scenario, I'm afraid, would not have been.

Mike said...

Cherniak has officially jumped the shark.

Anonymous said...

I volunteered on the Olivia Chow campaign, and never heard anyone talk about fraud.

Then again, if they were planning such an act, they would not broadcast it. We can only assume that they did steal the election.

Also, I voted before work, but claimed I hadn't so I could leave early. It is possible that I committed voter fraud on my way home without noticing!

Candace said...

Voter lists are generated from tax return addresses. A lot of professionals have their taxes sent to their office, so their office address ends up being their "riding" unless they correct it.

Honest citizens of every political stripe either call Elections Canada to fix it or show up in their residential riding with ID to vote.

It's the dishonest ones that could cheat under previous election laws, which is why the new requirement for ID/proof of residency.

As my mother says, "one bad apple doesn't spoil the whole barrel" but that one bad apple can make life difficult for the rest of the barrel. And since at least one of those were supporting, um, Jason's party of choice, he looks pretty silly pointing fingers.

calgarygrit said...

The problem with that sort of voter fraud is that if you tried to do it on a large scale, you'd get caught. You'd need to vote for people you knew weren't going to show up at the polls that day 100%.

Never mind the fallout if someone leaked it out. The risk just wouldn't be worth it.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

Ontario Lad,

One correction: neither I nor James Bow, the two bloggers he singles out as respecting, are moderators of anything.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! IdealGal, I was yammerin' about this over t' Scotty Tribe's boog an' he sez yer acceptin' JC's apology "without condition."

He never sed he was sorry fer the harm he mighta done t' Olivia and the NDP's reputation. Only that he was sorry he used the false rumour as an example to bolster his post.

He's said he was wrong. He has not accepted responsibilty for promoting a false rumour and for the increased damage that the rumour does everytime it is repeated. He has not even withdrawn the accusation of voter fraud. He only downscales the extent to which he sez it occurred.

Do you really accept his apology unconditionally?


George said...

It would be interesting to see if Olivia Chow now sues Jason ...

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


I haven't "accepted Cherniak's apology" at all, whether conditionally or unconditionally. All I did was tell him that I was impressed he was able to admit he was wrong in so many words. That was the truth. It's hard to admit you were wrong, and it impresses me when people do it, especially in public.

Cherniak doesn't owe me anything, so it's not up to me to demand more than he's given. I will say, though, that if I were Olivia Chow or part of her 2006 campaign team, I don't think I'd be terribly satisfied with things as they stand.

JimBobby said...

Thankee fer the clarification, IP.

Yer right, admittin' yer wrong ain't easy. The troublem fer me is JC didn't apologize to anyone except to his readers for "using the wrong example." He continues his assertion of voter fraud -- just not as wide spread as first claimed.

He ain't really accepted responsibility fer the harm his words may have done to Chow's repuatton and career.


susansmith said...

Actually over at Scott's blog, he seemed to indicated that you did accept his 'mistake' as an apology unless I have read it wrong. In our I read his 'mistake' on his blog, he only says that he was sorry to use that as an example of voter fraud, but not that he 'believed' was wrong or the reality that he did purposely 'smear' Olivia Chow.
I also think that there is some believe that because he didn't break any legal laws using weazel words that it's - on some level - ok. If the litmus test is our legal system of criminal libility - well, essentially, RM also did not break any laws and this is in reference to human rights and freedoms and discrimination laws. So what gives here? (And no IP, I'm not looking for you to answer this, but just opening up a debate). I am just seeing such a different standard of treatment.
On the one hand, Jason kinda says he's mistaken and in fact there is no sorry in his post, and some members are quick to go all is ok.
On the hand, RM apologizes, and actually uses the 'sorry' word and well, it was deemed insufficent, he didn't mean it, would not be accepted. And no, IP, I am saying you were one of them, but I do see that Scott Tribe was quick to accept Jason's non-apology and dismissed Robert's out of hand.
So to me there is overt dbl. standards in this blogosphere and progressive bloggers is not looking too progressive.
Thanks for providing the space for me to say how I see it.