One thing came across loud and clear at Sunday’s Action on Electoral Fraud rally: elections are not to be tinkered with.

There was a good turnout for the rally in Victoria Park, as concerned citizens gathered to hear Liberal MP Ralph Goodale, former NDP candidate Noah Evanchuk and Victor Lau from the provincial Green Party address the issue. The problem, the speakers agreed, wasn’t the automated calls themselves, but their purpose. The possibility that the Conservative government may have interfered with the 2011 federal election isn’t sitting well with Canadians, who are seemingly having less and less control over what happens in Ottawa.

Concerns about our federal government’s pattern of democratic disrespect were prevalent among Sunday’s speakers. Ralph Goodale called this “the unfortunate continuation of a pattern that just doesn’t pass the smell test”. The rally’s speakers pointed out that while the Robocall scandal is intolerable on its own, the risk is that we may stop finding this type of thing scary.

Goodale adds that the media trail has done an excellent job of following this issue, and asks that citizens should not be diverted by Harper’s “fountain of obfuscation”, and continues to assert that Elections Canada needs to investigate quickly, calling on the old maxim that “justice delayed is justice denied”.  Goodale demands Canadians continue to demand for accountability for electoral practices: “That’s the key thing about democracy; its worst enemy is apathy, and that’s what Mr. Harper is counting on, that Canadians will fight this fight for a little while, get bored, and move on.”

Simon Glezos, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the U of R sees these patterns as part of an alarming normalization process in Canada, where people are becoming desensitized to democratic disrespect by our federal government. He points to the irony that in some parts of the world, people are fighting and dying in pursuit of democratic rights, while in Canada, as in many of the other ‘most democratic’ states of the world, we are drifting away from democratic responsibility.