Liberal Party launching second inquiry into allegations of voter fraud in Laval riding

The federal Liberal Party is launching a second inquiry into allegations of voter fraud at a candidate nomination meeting in a Laval riding, CBC Montreal Investigates has learned.

Party to review results… again

The federal Liberal Party is launching a second inquiry into allegations of voter fraud at a candidate nomination meeting in a Laval riding, CBC Montreal Investigates has learned. 2:53

The federal Liberal Party is launching a second inquiry into allegations of voter fraud at a candidate nomination meeting in a Laval riding, CBC Montreal Investigates has learned.

The Permanent Appeal Committee rejected an appeal to the contested nomination of Faycal El-Khoury in Laval-Les Îles, despite a senior party official writing there were 55 more ballots cast than the number of people who were listed as having voted last November.

The Liberal Party is launching a second inquiry into allegations of voter fraud at a candidate nomination meeting in a Laval riding. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)
The breakdown of how many votes each candidate obtained is not publicly available and the Liberal Party of Canada would not release that information.

However, party spokesperson Olivier Duchesneau said the party’s campaign co-chairs would have final say on the matter.

"The Liberal Party of Canada still believes that the allegations raised during the process need to be reviewed,” he said in a statement.

Duchesneau also said the party would not be in a position to confirm an official candidate for Laval-Les Îles until the review is completed.

CBC News obtained a confidential affidavit signed by the party’s operations director in Quebec, Sylvie Bégin, and delivered to the Permanent Appeal Committee.

Bégin noted the discrepancy between ballots and voters, and also said each of the nomination meeting’s 9 voting stations had two copies of the same voter’s list.

'The Liberal Party of Canada still believes that the allegations raised during the process need to be reviewed.”- Olivier Duchesneau, Liberal party spokesperson

This means each person voting could potentially go to any booth.

Bégin wrote there were 64 voters whose names were crossed off lists more than once. Sixty of them, she wrote, were crossed off twice, and four were crossed off three times. She confirmed she found membership forms for only 52 of the 64 people in question.

In general elections, voters are guided to a particular booth based on where their name appears on a list that’s split among different stations.

It was one of the six candidates, Peter Papadakis, who’d filed an appeal after Liberals originally declared El-Khoury the winner of the nomination vote in November.

In the documents obtained by CBC, the Liberal Permanent Appeal Committee said it is rejecting Papadakis' appeal and maintaining the victor of the original vote, though it lists the winner's identity as Faycal El Sayegh, not El-Khoury.

Gag order

The committee cited Papadakis' refusal to abide by one of its rules as its reason for rejecting the appeal. 

It would have had him sign an undertaking to adhere to three conditions.

They are:

  • To abide by any order of the committee; 
  • To be responsible for any costs ordered to be paid during the appeal process; 
  • And "not to discuss the appeal or the results of the appeal with the public, including representatives of the press, except by delivering the order or reasons for decision arising from the appeal."

Neither Papadakis nor any of the other five candidates were willing to comment for this story.

The members of the Permanent Appeal Committee who signed off on the decision also would not comment.

In writing, the committee said everyone except Papadakis accepted the conditions.

Seen at candidate training, yet not a candidate

When CBC Montreal Investigates did a first story about alleged voter irregularities last November, the Liberal Party of Canada said in a statement its Permanent Appeal Committee would be looking into the results.

Faycal El-Khoury, second from left, seen with candidates at a training workshop run by the federal Liberals in early December. (Janice Bélair Roland, @JaniceBelairR)

In the meantime, there was no winner declared on the party’s website, and nobody’s name appeared as candidate.

Despite this, Faycal El-Khoury appears to have shown up at a candidates’ boot camp called "Liberal Party Campaign College” in Ottawa in early December.

A snapshot posted to a confirmed Quebec candidate’s Twitter account shows El-Khoury next to several others from the province.

"Team Québec Ottawa 2014,” Janice Belair Rolland, who will run for the Liberals in the Rivière du Nord riding, tweeted with the picture on December 8th.

Another picture time-stamped from December 17 on Twitter shows him smiling next to Justin Trudeau, also in the same location as the campaign college. 

Change following complaints

Following the Laval-Les Îles nomination, Sylvie Bégin wrote the party began providing computer software allowing electoral staff to watch voters' names crossed off lists in real-time at subsequent nomination meetings.

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About the Author

Raffy Boudjikanian

Raffy Boudjikanian is a national reporter with CBC in Edmonton. He has also worked in Calgary and Montreal for the public broadcaster.