A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Citizens Protest Unfair Election Act

Many of my reader will be aware that last Tuesday a number of citizens gathered in front of Conservative MP's Offices across the country to show their opposition to the Unfair Elections Act that is being railroaded through the legislative process by the Harper Regime. One such non partisan gathering sponsored by LeadNow took place in front of my local MP's office, that of Larry Miller, where folks from several opposition parties and local non partisan groups spoke to the crowd. Kimberly Love of the Liberals and Karen Gventer of the NDP spoke of the injustices - the removal of voting rights ( a right guaranteed by our constitution) of some one hundred thousand Canadians who require the vouching system and removing the power of oversight of Elections Canada. Karen touched upon our electoral system and the need to change it.
Scott Maxted of the Greens focused upon what needs to happen in Canada for Canadians to push out the Conservative destruction machine - electoral reform and the need to put partisanship aside. He spoke of the possible correlation found between the removal of the Per-Vote Subsidy and the task of promoting voting. With the removal of the subsidy and the low youth vote for the Conservative Party is there a possible correlation between slowing a party's progress down with the extra costs incurred with said promotions and the costs of running a strong campaign?

The local media reported upon this rally and contacted Mr Miller, who was not present but in Ottawa, and he is quoted as saying "Most people in this day and age should have ID, and it doesn't have to be photo ID, there are 39 different pieces of things that you can use and I don't think it is a stretch for anybody to come up with a combination that will work."
That is of course the party line which he is obliged to spout however the most telling part of that comment is “Most people”, Exactly - Most People NOT All People!
He went on to say "If anyone has legitimate suggestions on how to make the bill better I will personally deliver them to the minister, it is as simple as that,". Just about the same time as he said this his Conservative colleagues on the committee charged with studying this deeply flawed legislation blocked an NDP motion to allow Green, Bloc Quebecois, and independent MPs the right to formally examine and speak to the bill at the committee stage. Given that action, the closure of debate when first presented, the refusal thus far to even consider any amendments, and the long history of rejecting any opinions other than their own, this statement from Mr Miller is meaningless!

As I have said before not only is the bill 'flawed' (read totally unacceptable as written) but the process is also unacceptable. How can you substantially change the laws governing election processes without broad consensus and open discussion and call it a democratic process. If the both electorate and the opposition MP's (who represent over 60% the population) have no faith in it and does not believe it it open and fair then democracy is doomed. A recent poll reinforced this in that it found that “Seventy per cent of respondents said that the act’s elimination of Elections Canada’s ability to publicly report on voter complaints it receives, including about fraudulent calls, makes them less supportive of the legislation. When asked about the Unfair Elections Act’s elimination of the voucher system used by over 100,000 people, 61% said it made them less supportive of the bill.”

Much more startling to me however was this “The survey found that only 27% of Canadians are familiar with the act”, the ignorance of the electorate on this issue is not really surprising in that it is hardly front page news on a daily basis and has only just recently seen much mention in national newscasts. It is however very worrying in that the only way to stop or change this legislation is through public pressure on the Harper Regime and its henchmen, you know those folks who were elected to represent US in the House of Commons NOT the oligarchs who designed this legislation to feather their own nest.

I can only once again repeat Ed Broadbent's words “Past governments have avoided turning democratic process into a tool for one party’s advantage. Changes in electoral processes were always based on all-party consensus. That Harper derides such all-party consensus is, sadly, no surprise. That his robotic backbench will unquestioningly obey is not news either. Except now, the victims of his disregard for debate aren’t only the people we elect. It’s those doing the electing as well.”

Oh, and just in case you thought that there has been any change in the regimes Modus operandi you should be aware that both the misnaming of whos government it is and the Orwellian naming of bills is in full force with the naming of the 359 page budget bill just introduced. It not only once again covers a myriad on non budget items but is named the “Harper Government Creating Jobs & Growth While Returning to Balanced Budgets With Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1.”.
No really, I am not kidding! I had to check the government site to make sure it was not a joke!

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Owen Gray said...

These folks pay no attention to their opposition, Rural. the only way to deal with them is to vote them out -- and to challenge their legislation in court.

Rural said...

If they get their way Owen even the courts will eventually become a Harper mouthpiece, meanwhile if they can just delay any such action for for another year or so (as they have on the robocall issue) they may well get elected again despite our best efforts..

Anonymous said...

Rural think positive we have to redouble our efforts to inform as many as possible before the next stealection voters have to understand that with four more years of Harper what happened in Greece will look like a Sunday picnic compared to Harpers Brave New Canada.

We must rally and be heard at the polls.


Rural said...

I am trying Mogs, but it is hard when so many are still not taking notice. Still I do see an increase in awareness of the 'Harper Problem' in the media, amongst some citizens and in the blogisphere.

Anonymous said...

Well yes Rural and that is positive also when the press gallery in Ottawa finally said something about what is happening there, I think all Canadians by and large are beginning to view Harper differently. I remember when he first got elected to a stolen majority you could not post on blogs and bring up anything negative about the pm and 'his' party without being attacked by anon trolls and their vitriolic against you for stating the truth. Now they seem to have melted into a realization that their hero Harper is anything but. Have you noticed that too? Keep up the good work!