Fair Elections Act could sink Stephen Harper and Conservatives in 2015

by: Obert Madondo | Published April 12, 2014, by The Canadian Progressive

This week Canada’s two main opposition parties declared war on the Conservatives’ Orwellian Fair Elections Act. One that could bring down Harper during the 2015 federal election.

While falling short of declaring the Fair Elections Act an election issue for 2015, both the Official Opposition and third-placed Liberals are vowing to stand up for our right to vote.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says the focus of next election will be the ‘Fair Elections Act’. He wants Bill C-23 overhauled.

“We’re going to do everything we can to stop this thing,” Mulcair told delegates in Halifax for a provincial NDP convention. “The pundits said it was too complicated for Canadians to understand. But we know that it’s about the fundamental rules of democracy.”

Related: Harper’s Orwellian “Fair Elections” Act Violates Canadian Constitution

The Liberals want Parliament to have a “free vote” on Bill C-23.

“The Conservatives’ Unfair Elections Act will bar thousands of Canadians from voting and limit investigations into electoral fraud, and I am calling on the Prime Minister to hold a free vote on these wholesale changes,” said Liberal leader Justin Trudeau in a statement. “Liberals will continue to stand up for every Canadian’s right to vote. The responsibility is on Mr. Harper to hold a free vote at Third Reading of his Unfair Elections Act and allow his MPs to speak for their constituents.”

Just to recap: Bill C-23 proposes a dictatorship-style assault on Canadian democracy. It would make it tougher for marginalized Canadians to vote by eliminating the practice of vouching, and the use of voter ID cards. Groups certain to be disenfranchised include: Aboriginals, students, seniors and the poor. Thousands of them. In the last election, an estimated 120,000 Canadians were able to vote only after being vouched for by a neighbour.

The Fair Elections Act would severely disempower Elections Canada. By prohibiting the agency from encouraging Canadians to vote. By curtailing its ability to investigate and speak out on electoral fraud.

The attack on Elections Canada is about vengeance. Remember the “in-and-out” election financing scandal? The Conservative Party of Canada pleaded guilty to exceeding the maximum allowable spending limit in the 2006 federal election. They broke the election rules under the Canada Elections Act. Got fined $52,000.

While Conservatives are disenfranchising already marginalized Canadians, Bill C-23 would boost the flow of money into Canadian politics.

Should the Liberals come to power in 2015, you can expect the Fair Elections Act to go away.

“If the government continues to run roughshod over Canadians by forcing through its bill, I commit that a Liberal government will repeal the Conservatives’ undemocratic changes to our country’s Elections Act,” said the Liberal.

Meanwhile, the New Democrats have a petition asking you to stand and stop Harper’s dictatorship-style assault on Canadian democracy.

“Therefore, we call on Parliament to reject Bill C-23, and bring forward a genuine reform of the Canada Elections Act, which will stop electoral fraud, permit democracy promotion by Elections Canada prevent money politics from distorting elections, and maintain both the long-standing practice of vouching and the use of voter ID cards issued by Elections Canada so that hundreds of thousands of Canadians can continue to exercise their right to vote,” says the petition.

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based blogger, activist, photographer, digital rights enthusiast, former political aide, and former international development administrator. He's the founder and editor of these independent publications: The Canadian Progressive, a political blog dedicated to progressive Canadian journalism; The Zimbabwean Progressive, a political blog dedicated to producing fearless, progressive, adversarial, unapologetic, and activism-oriented Zimbabwean journalism; and Charity Files, a publication dedicated to journalism in the charitable public's interest. Follow Obert on Twitter: @Obiemad