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From the Editor's Chair

Web posted on May 14, 2012

Probably a lot of our readers are wondering, "Why isn't The Fountain Pen covering the election scandal?" So, I shall sit down and talk about that a bit in my first editorial from the big Editor's chair.

I, like many of you, have been watching the whole Pierre Poutine debacle unfold from the very beginning.

I didn't get one of those robocalls back on election day, but I was stuck behind a few people who had received the calls and were sent to my polling station 'in error'. I figured it was just a mix-up of some sort, and since it didn't appear to adversely affect the outcome of our local election, didn't think any more of it.

I know people who witnessed the ballot box abduction at the University of Guelph. I thought that was just petty silliness and/or stupidity on the part of Marty Burke's communications director Michael Sona, and again, didn't really give it much more thought, as the ballots were counted.

The possibility of a huge scandal wasn't even on my radar back then.

Then, everything blew up.

I have watched information coming out from all manner of sources over the past few months. The number of affected ridings has fluctuated wildly - last I looked, it is reported as 200 ridings. There was much political posturing in the House of Commons, and many protests by annoyed Canadians. Every time some new tidbit of information came out, the posturing and protesting resumed for a day or so, then disappeared again.

Elections Canada has been working on tracking down the mysterious Pierre Poutine: the person aparently responsible for setting up the misleading calls using a throwaway cellphone and pre-paid credit cards. The hunt has involved companies such as RackNine, PayPal, Responsive Marketing Group, Free Proxy Server, Rogers, and others. Some leads have turned into dead ends - well, at least the ones we hear about do.

Once Elections Canada began their formal investigation, the amount of information released to the public was reduced significantly. That is one thing Elections Canada is good about - they tend to lock things down, and make their court cases virtually air-tight.

And now we get down to the reason I have not written about this election scandal before now: I do not like to provide second-hand information to the readers of The Fountain Pen. We are a small, local on-line newspaper serving Guelph and Wellington County (Grey-Bruce, Perth, and Dufferin counties, too). While we receive the standard press releases on Elections Canada website updates, we do not receive information directly from Elections Canada about the investigation. We don't have an investigative reporter to go digging around, nor are we part of a very large newspaper chain that has the resources and connections to do so.

I am a proud Canadian, and Guelph has been my hometown for over 25 years now. I care deeply about this scandal that has shaken the very foundations of our electoral process. I will work on getting this publication on 'the list' at Elections Canada, so we can bring you the latest information as they release it.