Friday, February 07, 2014

Legislating Apathy

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.


Lorne said...

There seems no depths to which this regime will go, Owen, to suppress the voices of those who don't share its neo-liberal vision. Related to this, but on another front, is their current war against environmental groups who appear to be targeted for the same reason, but with a trojan horse. Ethical Oil, a shadowy non-profit, has been leading the charge against them by making complaints to the Canada Revenue Agency about partisanship, prompting a series of expensive audits. One of the red flags about this group is that its founder, Alykhan Velshi, is currently the director of issues management in the Prime Minister's Office.

Owen Gray said...

Their fingers are everywhere, Lorne. Like Richard Nixon, Mr. Harper is hellbent on using government to destroy his enemies.

But, unlike the Republicans of the 1970's, there's no one in the Harper Party courageous enough to take him on.

Rural said...

"Three days, they said, is all it should take to debate the bill."
Having taken the time to read some of the text of this bill it is quite clear that it would take longer than 3 full days to read ans UNDERSTAND all the implications of this bill. It is clear that as with previous 'omnibus' bills full understanding of this legislation is what they are trying to avoid.
Not only is Harper destroying his enemies but is destroying our demovracy also!

Anonymous said...

Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation of 1989. Harper only has those he can control. All dictators are control freaks. Harper has his degenerates and his fanatic henchmen team, to do his dirty work for him.

The opposition are useless, spineless, gutless wonders.

Owen Gray said...

We can only hope, Anon, that the opposition -- and backbenchers in Harper's own party -- develop spines.

Owen Gray said...

That is precisely his intention, Rural. Democracy -- real democracy -- is his enemy.