Yesterday, the Harper Party moved to limit debate on its so called Fair Elections Act. Three days, they said, is all it should take to debate the bill. The reason for the three day limit is abundantly clear: the longer the bill is exposed to sunlight, the more its real intention becomes clear:
“A big part of this bill is about voter suppression,” NDP deputy leader David Christopherson told The Huffington Post Canada.
Young people, aboriginals and low-income Canadians are being unfairly targeted by a bill that the Conservatives have labelled the Fair Elections Act, the NDP argued.
Changes that eliminate being vouched for by a friend or colleague as sufficient identification on election day will hurt certain segments of the population who have no fixed address, such as those living on the street in Vancouver’s lower East side, said Libby Davies, the party’s MP for the area.
Another measure that prevents Elections Canada from continuing its current campaign of encouraging young people to vote is designed to keep anti-Tory voters away, Christopherson suggested.
“We’re talking about a lot of Canadians who might be the kind to look to the government to actually provide an improvement to our society. That is exactly the kind of Canadians [the Conservatives] want to keep away from the ballot box, because that is not the type of government that they offer,” he said.
And, to ensure that those objectives are met, Chief Electoral Officer Mark Mayrand says the Harperites have "taken the referee off the ice."
None of this should come as any surprise. Take a look at the players. Just as Julian Fantino is the Minister In Charge Of Abandoning Veterans, Pierre Poilievre is the Minister in Charge of Democratic Reform. Both men lack any credibility on their files. Of Poilievre, Lawrence Martin writes:
But if the young man with the bookworm looks and wicked tongue really wants to establish credibility as a minister of democratic reform, there’s another way of doing it. He could start by lowering some stone walls. Since he’s so concerned about the work of Elections Canada, he might lend a hand with its robocalls probe.
But Poilievre won't do that, of course. The Conservatives are all about building walls --- "firewalls" is the prime minister's phrase. The best way to do that -- and maintain power with 30% support -- is to make sure that those who would vote against you don't show up at the polls.
And you can make it happen -- or not happen -- by legislating apathy.