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eBay pulls plug on vote-selling scheme

[PoliticsWatch Updated 3:40 p.m. December 6, 2005]

eBay pulled a Quebec man's auction to sell his vote in the federal election. 

OTTAWA  — The online site eBay pulled the plug Tuesday on an auction to sell a vote in the January 23 federal election. 

An unidentified Sherbrooke, Quebec, man had been taking bids for his vote online for the past nine days. 

The bidding opened at $1 (US), but rose to $7.25 shortly before eBay put an end to the auction on Tuesday morning. 

"This is a brand new vote for the January 23rd Canadian Federal Election !" the item proclaimed in its description. 

"The actual Liberal government is buying votes through spending promises, why couldn't you buy a vote to help them or to get rid of them? This is a unique opportunity, express yourself twice (or more) .....Voting is fun, double your pleasure !"

The person selling his vote emphasized that it was not for sale to political parties. 

An Elections Canada official told PoliticsWatch that the auction was against the Canada Elections Act. 

Elections Canada said selling a vote violates Section 481. (1) of the Act, which states: "Every person is guilty of an offence who, during an election period, directly or indirectly offers a bribe to influence an elector to vote or refrain from voting or to vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate."

Subsection 2 on accepting a bribe states: "Every elector is guilty of an offence who, during an election period, accepts or agrees to accept a bribe that is offered in the circumstances described in subsection (1)."

Adrian Cantin a spokesperson for Elections Canada spoke bluntly about the matter. 

"Trying to buy or sell a vote is illegal," he said. "It's against the Canada Elections Act."

Harper confident he has the support of Premier What's His Name? 

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper got his premiers mixed up while being interviewed on a radio call-in show in Newfoundland on Tuesday. 

Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams announced last week that he was going to sit on the sidelines during the federal election campaign unlike the last one where he tried to get all parties onside to create an Atlantic Accord.

"I'm a Progressive Conservative and I think my politics [are] quite obvious, so, you know, I certainly wouldn't stand up here and say I'm supporting the Liberal party of Canada to form the next government," Williams said last week. 

"But I don't think it helps for the premier to actually get down in the trenches, in the nitty gritty of an election campaign."

Harper was asked by the radio show host Tuesday what he thought about Premier Williams' decision and Harper responded by saying, "Well I was just at the Newfoundland and Labrador Progressive Conservative convention a couple months back. I thought that we got a pretty strong endorsement from Premier Campbell."

Premier Campbell, of course, is the Liberal premier of British Columbia.

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