It is not only because the long-awaited Conservative electoral reform bill came in at almost 250 pages of legal jargon and a minimum of background information on Tuesday that reaction to its content was initially tentative.
Over the past eight years Stephen Harper's government has woven more than one piece of legislative tapestry that has featured major threads that did not jump out at observers.
Time after time measures that turned out to be more significant than anyone would have been led to expect upon reading the actual budget or that simply had nothing to do with economic policy have been found tucked in the pages of a thick Conservative budget implementation bill.
The Fair Elections Act - as it has been named by its government sponsors - is no exception. It strikes out in a variety of directions making it hard even for those who know the process inside out to get a definite handle on its ramifications.
That starts with Elections Canada. The agency was kept out of the loop of the drafting of the legislation by the government and it has yet to deliver a full analysis of the result.
But one does not need to read between the lines of the bill to come to the conclusion that the Harper government is more inclined to see a higher voter turnout as a threat than as an ideal outcome.
At a time when most comparable jurisdictions are looking for ways to reverse a decline in turnout the legislation put forward on Tuesday nudges Canada in the opposite direction.
Under this bill Elections Canada would be allowed to tell voters where and when to exercise their franchise but forbidden to launch outreach campaigns to encourage them to actually vote.
The government argues that such campaigns have no measurable impact on voter turnout. Yet it is a field that many provinces as well as comparable democracies such as Great Britain and Australia still deem worth exploring. The trend overall is to increase efforts to promote voting, not to force organizations that oversee elections to stand down.
In the same spirit more than a few countries are looking to remove some of the practical constraints that are said to be keeping voters away by adopting alternative voting methods. One increasingly considered option is electronic voting. The bill shortens Elections Canada's leash on that score.
It would require that both houses of Parliament - and not just the committees that usually deal with election-related matters - give the green light to any pilot project that involved electronic voting.
That means for instance that even if - after the 2015 election - a possible Liberal or a New Democrat government agreed that Elections Canada should road test electronic voting it could not do so without the permission of a Conservative Senate majority.
Finally the bill tightens up voter identification rules - making it harder for a number of not usually Conservative-friendly constituencies to vote. The latter include younger voters.
According to Elections Canada the 2011 turnout rate among voters aged 18 to 24 stood at a dismal 38.8 per cent. Across Canada some of the outreach campaigns that the bill would outlaw federally are specifically tailored to them.
Given that each new cohort of voters is more wired than the previous one, an electronic voting system could have more impact on the voting pattern of the younger cohort that on their elders.
Finally, younger people tend to move more often. As a result the deterrence effect of the more stringent ID requirements stands to be higher among the lower age group of voters.
There are all kinds of models that purport to project how a higher turnout among younger Canadians would impact the outcome of federal elections.
But they all concur on one finding and it is that the Conservative party would lose from such a development.
That may be even more true at a time when the ruling party is facing a Liberal leader whose appeal is strong with that particular section of the electorate.
Chantal Hébert is a national affairs writer. Her column is distributed by Torstar Syndication Services.