Our View: Act falls short of fair elections

“Everything old will become new again.” That old saying is self-fulfilling, and is especially true in the world of politics.

Majority governments can use their numbers to their own advantage in our democracy, but that doesn’t make it right.

Our current federal government is going a big step beyond what was once considered “part of the game,” by reaching beyond the lines of partisanship, and into the realm of the franchise that Canadians have come to take for granted.

The ironically titled Fair Elections Act, Bill C-23, is being roundly criticized by scholars, pundits, the opposition, and people from many and varied walks.

Described by the government as a means to reform the federal electoral machinery, it has all the handiwork of a Trojan horse in the form of a ballot box.

First, what the Conservatives have put on the table lacks transparency. They want little or no debate on the bill – it came out of nowhere and was dropped on the floor while the nation was watching the Sochi Olympics – and they have mined it with items that would only benefit the party in power.

One contentious area is the elimination of Voter Information Cards as eligible identification (but never the only source). That would make voting more difficult for students, seniors in care facilities, and First Nations people.

Another is stripping Elections Canada of its ability to safeguard the electoral process and eliminate its role in promoting voter participation.

It’s too easy to suspect that the Conservatives’ desire to rebuild Elections Canada stems from a wish to avoid being caught cheating again, as they were in the 2006 In-and-Out Scandal – and they are still in the thick of the RoboCalls Scandal.

With a majority in the House and a Senate full of yes-men, Stephen Harper has the leverage to build his advantage by imposing the Fair Elections Act on Canadians who have, since the beginning of our nation, fought against such travesties.

– Glacier Media

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