It was never going to be easy reforming our electoral system. Rona Ambrose and her party are determined to make sure it won't be easy -- because, she says, they stand four square for democracy. Michael Harris writes that Ambrose's claim should be greeted with a chorus of guffaws:
Ambrose says she is ready to use the CPC’s majority of hacks, bagmen and shills in the Senate to block legislation. (Hmmm, sound familiar, Michael Chong?) Yes, the Leader of the Opposition is prepared to scupper legislation using the unelected and now ethically compromised Senate — even though it will have been passed by a majority in the elected House of Commons.
That’s how deep her commitment to democracy.
It is instructive to re-consider recent Conservative history:
Remember the risibly named Fair Elections Act? You know, the one that made voting harder and cheating easier. The one that gelded Elections Canada, first by severing its investigative arm from the main institution, and then by denying powers of subpoena to EC investigators.
Where was Ambrose’s vehement commitment to democracy when Pierre Poilievre was giving his pathetically partisan response to the Robocalls scandal? Only sad little “Skippy” could confuse doubling down on skullduggery with reform. Still Ambrose didn’t seem to mind rigging the electoral system without a referendum when it was her team that was doing the rigging.
Where was Ambrose the Democrat when her leader was shutting down the House of Commons for partisan reasons, violating the parliamentary privilege of committees by withholding documents, and ultimately being found in contempt of parliament? Oddly, there’s no sign of her standing up for the people on any of those occasions.
I wonder does Ambrose remember those days not so long ago when Conservative MPs could not even open their mouths without submitting “Message Event Proposals” to the prime minister’s own department, the Privy Council Office. Was it democratic for the PCO to put the exact words that could be used into the mouths of otherwise functioning human beings? There were even critics to be found who claimed that such a system was a better fit in North Korea than Canada.
Whether or not there is a referendum on what the Liberals propose, the Conservatives can't claim they're on the side of democracy.
That's just funny.