April 15th, 2014

Beware of unelected Senators claiming to fix the Unfair Elections Act

The last people you can trust to fix elections laws are unelected, unaccountable Conservative and Liberal Senators.

Senators have finally released their widely leaked report on the Unfair Elections Act, and sadly the amendments in the majority report fall far short of any reasonable fix for this bill.

Here’s the top ten things missing from the Senate report.

  1. No power to compel testimony for the Commissioner
  2. Nothing to ensure the Chief Electoral Officer has access to party financial records and still allows for millions of dollars in tax benefits without a single receipt.
  3. Does nothing to reverse the ban on using Voter Information Cards.
  4. Still targets Elections Canada, splitting it in two, and severely limits its role in promoting voting.
  5. Nothing to restore the important “fail safe” of allowing voter vouching.
  6. Elections Canada and the Commissioner will still have to depend on the Treasury Board – and a Conservative cabinet minister – to approve their spending.
  7. Spending limits are still increased, allowing for more big money in politics.
  8. Winning parties will still get to appoint Elections officials in each riding.
  9. Interest groups and third parties will still get greatly expanded spending limits.
  10. Only slightly expands the requirement to keep robocall information, to just three years, well short of even a single election cycle.

Amendments to this bill must not just be ones that are acceptable to Harper's unelected Senators, all the parties should be on board when you make changes to the laws that govern our democracy.

We don’t trust Conservative Senators – the same ones that have been attacking C-23 witnesses – to fix this bill.

Stephen Harper must withdraw his Unfair Elections Act and introduce a bill that actually targets fraud, instead of a bill that targets voters Conservatives don’t like.