Bill anything but fair
Published in the Waterloo Record, Friday April 11, 2014: http://www.therecord.com/opinion-story/4457955-bill-anything-but-fair/
Bill C-23, the so-called Fair Elections Act, is an affront to Canadian democracy and needs to go.
Those are strong words, but I write them with no hesitation, given the bill would disenfranchise thousands of Canadians. Students, seniors, First Nations and some persons with disabilities, in particular, will all face significant hurdles as a result of this proposed legislation.
This, despite the fact that as testimony in committee has noted, there is no evidence voter fraud has taken place under the current system.
Stephen Harper’s government is also working to muzzle Elections Canada and undermine the agency’s independence. In light of the numerous cases of misconduct uncovered by Elections Canada, notably by the governing Conservative party, the government’s hostility to independent oversight is not surprising.
However, just because we’ve grown accustomed to this type of ideological attack by the Conservatives, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t speak out loudly against it.
The Fair Elections Act will fundamentally undermine Canada’s electoral system. While it’s understandable that politics will see disagreement on many issues, Canadians of all beliefs and political affiliations should be united in asserting that Canada’s democratic institutions be free from political interference.
We need to demand the Conservative government change course. Rather than attack voter participation, we should be working to engage more Canadians in the politics and policy that shape this country’s future.
We have more tools, both online and offline, than ever to do so, so let’s get to work on making those in power listen.