Thursday, March 20, 2014

Federal Politics

Big Changes to the Way We Vote

Fair Election Act undermines democratic freedom says NDP

Released by Al Ens with staff and files from the Stephen Maher/ Nat Post/File photo Al Ens


allies are being planned across Canada next Tuesday (March 25) to protest the Fair Elections Act


A recent Globe and Mail article stated the proposed changes in the act have not only drawn fire from concerned Canadians but, more recently, from top international scholars.


The scholars released a public letter on Wednesday urging the government and Canadians to consider the ramifications of such fundamental democratic changes. 


"What is most concerning is that this act tips election outcomes in favour of the sitting government. Although it carries the title 'Fair',Ě there is nothing fair about it," said Al Ens, Chilliwack-Hope NDP Electoral District Association (EDA), in a release on Thursday.


One significant change is the Fair Election Act negates the ability of the Chief Electoral Officer to investigate violations and hands that responsibility over to a newly created Commissioner of Canada Elections.


The Chilliwack-Hope Riding NDP Association supports the planned demonstrations to be held on the 25th and is urging both members and non-members alike to attend the rally and write to the MP. 


Former Conservative Party employee Michael Sona is facing criminal charges after allegedly sending illegal automated (robocalls) messages to opposition supporters who were given the wrong polling station locations in the 2011 elections. He is due in court on June 2 in Guelph, Ontario.


Other election reforms include; raising the ceiling on political campaign donations from $1200 to $1500; and ending voter ID vouching by friends and associated of those who don't have identification. This, they say, will discourage marginalized voters from casting ballots.


"There have been many pieces of legislation pushed through by the Conservatives that have concerned me. But, tampering with our election act, especially after the robocalls incidents is unacceptable," said Ens. "In light of the robocalls, Elections Canada should be strengthened, not weakened. The process is already cloaked in scandal."


"Conservative MP Brad Butt lied about witnessing election fraud. If you have to lie to pass a piece of legislation, then perhaps it's time to take another look at that piece of legislation. The ends doesn't justify the means. On March 25th, that's the New Democratic Party's message," he concluded. 


The Democracy rally will be on March, 25th at 12:00 noon in front of Mark Strahlís office, 7388 Vedder Rd.



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