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Workers harassed, threatened in riding of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, says Elections Canada

Click to play video: 'Some voters harassing Elections Canada staff' Some voters harassing Elections Canada staff
WATCH: Some Elections Canada workers are being harassed in the riding of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. Some would-be conservative voters have been threatening and harassing staff at the polls when they discover there is no conservative candidate in their riding and in some instances police have to be called. Alicia Draus reports. – Sep 14, 2021

Elections Canada says workers in the riding of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour have been harassed and threatened because the candidate some wanted to vote for is absent from the ballot.

Some voters hoping to cast their ballots for the Conservative candidate were angry to discover that there is no candidate for the party in that riding, according to Elections Canada spokesperson Françoise Enguehard.

Those individuals “are basically showing their anger and taking aim at Elections Canada and election workers, as if Elections Canada had anything to do with it,” said Enguehard.

“I have to stress that Elections Canada does not select the candidate…. There are rules in place, but we do not dictate who runs and who doesn’t.”

The former Conservative candidate for that riding, Troy Myers, quit last month after he was accused of sexual assault. Myers has said that allegation is false.

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Read more: Conservative Party of Canada candidate quits over sexual assault allegation

The withdrawal happened just before candidate nominations closed, so the party did not find a replacement.

Enguehard said police have been called at two different locations after disgruntled voters made scenes and hurled verbal abuse at workers.

Click to play video: 'Canada election: O’Toole says he takes sexual assault allegations ‘very seriously’ after candidate asked to withdraw' Canada election: O’Toole says he takes sexual assault allegations ‘very seriously’ after candidate asked to withdraw
Canada election: O’Toole says he takes sexual assault allegations ‘very seriously’ after candidate asked to withdraw – Aug 30, 2021

The returning officer had to deal with at least six threatening phone calls and Elections Canada has received about two dozen “very angry” calls about the situation.

That’s in addition to about 100 angry and abusive comments to workers in person, said Enguehard.

Monday was the most serious incident — and one that warranted a police call — where people were harassed outside the location at the Mic Mac Mall.

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“So this is not an isolated thing,” said Enguehard.

“I can tell you that in all the years that I have done this work during elections — all the elections since 2005 — I have never witnessed such a situation.”

‘We just want fair and safe elections’

These incidents are concerning because people have the right to a fair, equitable and safe election, said Enguehard.

“It is not fair for the vast majority of electors who have come to vote peacefully, and want to do so in peace, to have to be subjected to this kind of behaviour,” she said.

Enguehard added that it’s especially not fair to the election workers, who work long hours and deserve to get through a shift without being threatened.

“It’s a difficult job, and it’s an important job. And they should be able to do so in peace without being harassed by a few individuals,” she said.

“We just want fair and safe elections.”

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