Eric Grenier writes that, the more Canadians learn about the Fair Elections Act, the less they like it:
Opposition to the Conservative government's proposed Fair Elections Act (Bill C-23) is widespread and growing, according to a new poll by Angus Reid Global.
survey, conducted online from April 14-15 and surveying 1,505 Canadians, found that 59 per cent of Canadians who said they were very or fairly familiar with the proposed legislation were opposed to it, an increase of three points since Angus Reid last polled Canadians on the topic in February.
Unfortunately, there is still a significant number of Canadians who haven't bothered to look into what the Harperites are selling:
Nevertheless, a majority of Canadians (69 per cent) said they were not familiar with the bill, including 27 per cent who said they had not heard of it before Angus Reid polled them. That did decrease by 11 points from February, however, as the number of people saying they were very familiar with the bill increased by three points to eight per cent, and the proportion who said they were fairly familiar jumped by eight points to 23 per cent.
There was an important difference in support for Bill C-23 between those who knew something about it and those who said they didn't. And why not? It is called the "Fair Elections Act" after all. Whereas just 41 per cent of Canadians who said they were familiar with the proposed legislation supported it, 52 per cent who said they knew little to nothing about it were in favour.
And therein lies the rub. The government is depending on ignorance and apathy to finesse its future. But Tom Walkom warns that fixing Canadian democracy will take more than defeating the Fair Elections Act:
But the real problems of Canadian democracy are much deeper. They centre on the fact that, even without these new impediments to voting so few Canadians bother to cast ballots.
In 2011, only 61 per cent of those eligible to vote did so.
Harper’s Conservatives are right about one thing: Feel-good ads from Elections Canada won’t persuade non-voters to vote. People will vote only if they are inspired to do so, presumably by those seeking office.
And that will only happen when Canadians begin to smell a skunk in the woodpile.