Here are some extracts, read the whole thing at Ipolitics:-
Basically, I argued there are five prerequisites for democratic legitimacy:
- A legal or constitutional basis for authority;
- Enforcement mechanisms;
- Impartial decision-makers (financial independence,
security of tenure);
- Transparency in decision-making;
- Mechanisms for giving or withholding consent.
One of my responsibilities in Kosovo was to work with the Legislative Assembly to pass a law that would make independent institutions (like our Officers of Parliament) accountable to Parliament and not to the government. This is no mere formality — it affects everything a parliament does..............
Under Bill C-23, the enforcement arm of Elections Canada (Commissioner of Canada Elections) will be moved to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who is appointed by the government and reports only indirectly to Parliament through the government. I brought a delegation to Canada from Kosovo in 2007 on a study visit to learn how Canadian institutions maintain their independence from government. Today, I would be embarrassed to bring them to Canada.
One of the more egregious aspects of Bill C-23 is that it actually forbids Elections Canada or the Chief Electoral Officer from communicating with the public. No more reports. No more voter education. No more communication about robocalls or any other investigations.
In every international best-practice regarding democracy, transparency is the number one criteria. It is hard to imagine how a country can maintain elections transparency when the body that runs elections is no longer allowed to speak to the people. Even former auditor general Sheila Fraser has criticized this aspect of the bill, saying: “Independent officers of Parliament — the government is now restricting what they can say? It’s just so inappropriate.”
I can honestly say that in all my years of working on democratic development with the United Nations, OSCE, NDI and other international organizations on five continents, I have not found another electoral commission that was prohibited by law from speaking to the public about elections or doing public awareness campaigns to encourage people to vote.
Anita Vandenbeld worked for a number of years internationally on democratic development with the United Nations Development Programme, the National Democratic Institute,the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Parliamentary Centre.
Exactly, changes to our electoral system that are forced through the legislative process and are not based upon based on the “widest possible public and expert consultation” or are contrary to the wishes of the majority of Canadians cannot be viewed as legitimate. This would make the results of the next election questionable no matter what party gains the right to govern, but certainly given the bias in this legislation to the current regime would make a win by them nothing short of a coup d'etat.