One political party should not be allowed to decide the future of democracy in Canada.
But the Conservative Party of Canada is doing just that with its Fair Elections Act.
It’s a document that is been soundly criticized for various reasons – but its greatest sin is the fact that it makes important changes to the basic principal of Canadian democracy, namely who can and can’t vote, without major consultations with the other parties and the public at large.
The bill, dubbed C-23 in the national legislature, is currently before committee, where it is being discussed; but with a Conservative majority in the House of Commons it’s pretty much guaranteed to become law as is, or close to it.
For anyone who’s not familiar with the stir this bill has been making, here’s a primer:
The Fair Elections Act will overhaul Canada’s voting system, making the process, according to its proponents, more secure.
The bill would eliminate the ability for one citizen to vouch for another without proof of address, shift many powers away from the impartial Elections Canada and limit what powers it has left.
The bill is also being fast tracked through the process by allowing the Senate to get an early chance to study it.
Government officials have said they hope to have it passed by June and have it ready to go by the next federal election.
The minister responsible for the bill, Pierre Poilievre, has been sharply critical of anyone who dares to question the bill and has, to date, dismissed all suggestion that it be amended in any way.
For a Fair Elections Act, the tact Poilievre is taking has to be the most undemocratic way to approach democratic reform we’ve ever heard of in an industrialized nation.
Honestly, how can you be the minister responsible for democratic reform and then dismiss all criticism and attack your opponents for doing it?
The logic is mind-boggling.
We can only hope Poilievre and handlers in the PMO office come to their senses before this travesty is passed into law.
And the worst part of all this is?
We agree with what the Conservative party is trying to accomplish.
Strengthening the integrity of the Canadian voting system is a worthy goal and one that deserves attention. But not behind closed doors - and never without input from all our elected representatives.