Painful Truth: Conservatives not fans of voters

Should you vote? Is voting important to a democracy? Should young people, new Canadians, and the elderly be encouraged to vote?

If you said yes to any of these questions, you disagree with the Conservative government’s new Fair Elections Act. However, you do agree with the head of Elections Canada, a host of scholars and academics who study the democratic process, and Preston Manning, godfather of the new Canadian conservatism.

The Fair Elections Act (roll your eyes while you say it) contains a number of provisions that seem to be directly designed to reduce voter turnout.

First, it bans Elections Canada from promoting the act of voting, or from publishing its own research reports.

This seems like an exceedingly good idea, especially considering that young people have been abandoning the polls in great numbers for the last few decades. And why would you want to reach out to educate those who have just received their citizenship cards? Bah, let them fend for themselves! Educating the electorate is a waste of time!

There is also the elimination of both voter identification cards and of the “vouching” system.

You have probably been receiving voter cards in the mail for years, which help voters identify themselves at the polls, especially voters who don’t have a lot of traditional ID.

Who doesn’t have traditional ID? Mostly the poor and the young. But their votes shouldn’t count for as much, because they don’t contribute as much labour value to society, and of course, because they might not vote Conservative.

Conservative MP Brad Butt tried to improve the government’s case for this measure by saying he’d seen people picking voter information cards out of the garbage and using them to vote illegally. He later had to retract this, claiming someone else had just told him about this. In either case, it’s curious that he didn’t see fit to report the crime to either Elections Canada or the RCMP.

Vouching is the system by which I, a voter with proper ID, can vouch for you, my friend Stan, and say, yes, this is Stan Smith, I’ve known him for years, he is who he says he is. And then we sign documents affirming this, and I’m essentially on the hook if Stan turns out to be a vile infiltrator who’s trying to vote twice.

The Tories claimed that vouching has given rise to widespread electoral fraud. However, there is no evidence of fraud.

In fact, the head of Elections Canada, Marc Mayrand, explained this at great length in front of a Parliamentary committee recently. The author of the report the government cited to back up its fraud claims popped up to explicitly deny that he’d ever said any such thing.

What else is in the bill? Increased donation limits for individuals, because money has always been good for politics. And the right for sitting MPs to recommend names to Elections Canada of poll supervisors. That would give things that touch of non-partisan legitimacy.

The Tories do not seem to have much to say in support of their legislation, even as they are getting hammered from both right and left over various, or all facets, of the bill.

I briefly thought that I might be interested in hearing the Conservatives defend this bill.

Then I changed my mind. I’m not interested in a defence of an indefensible piece of legislative garbage. When Preston Manning tells you it’s a bad idea, Tories, you should listen.

Listen, and scrap the whole bill, then pretend it was all a bad dream. It would have been better had that been the case.

Just Posted

Day 3 brings fourth win for the Langley-based Team BC

Tyler Tardi and squad plays two games Tuesday at the junior curling nationals in Saskatchewan.

Cash-for-signs policy pondered by Langley Township

A deposit could be required to put up election signs in 2022.

RCMP ‘amending’ helicopter training after complaints in Surrey

Cloverdale residents say the Air One chopper was in the air for hours and flying at low altitudes

Langley charity looks to South Asian community for hospital support

The Giving Hearts Gala is the newest initiative of the Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation.

LETTER: Langley resident challenged MP’s immigration ‘truths’

A writer says well-vetted immigrants who can contribute to Canadian society should be the priority.

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Speaker brings report on allegations to B.C. legislature committee

Report describes Darryl Plecas’ suspicions about senior staff

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver that killed BC RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Woman offers luxury Alberta home for just $25 and a flair for the written word

Alla Wagner ran into health problems, which forced her to list the 5,000-square-foot estate at market value

46% of Canadians $200 or less away from financial insolvency: poll

45% cent of those surveyed say they will need to go further into debt to pay their living and family expenses

Most Read