Elections Canada take a big hit
For years there’s been bad blood between Stephen Harper and Elections Canada. They’ve taken his Conservatives repeatedly to court for one election scam after another.
Now finally Harper got even this week, bringing in legislation to split Elections Canada and sending off their top investigator, Commissioner of Canada Elections Yves Côté, to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
It’s an elaborate plan. The Director of Public Prosecutions answers to the minister of justice who in turn reports to cabinet, which is picked by who else but Harper himself.
The Conservatives have been saying for years that Elections Canada is biased against them.
Smart Conservative election organizers will be able to drive a truck through the new law.
The Minister for Democratic Reform, Pierre Poilievre, is charge of getting the legislation through Parliament in time for the next general election.
Just to make sure it goes through without any changes, the Harper government is planning to impose closure on parliamentary debate. It should work. Harper has a majority in the Commons.
Pierre Poilievre took a cheap shot this week at Marc Mayrand, the head of Elections Canada.
Poilievre said Mayrand “won’t be wearing the jersey of the other team” any more.
What does that mean? That Mayrand is biased? And who is “the other team" in Poilievre's mind – Liberals, NDP, Bloc Québécois?
Shades of Stephen Harper in 2000, when he was at the National Citizens Coalition. He lost a court case against Elections Canada, so he signed an NCC fund-raising letter attacking “the jackasses at Elections Canada.”
Nice guy that Harper. But he didn’t get where he is today by being “nice.” Nice doesn’t cut it in politics.
There are a some minor improvements in the law. You won't be able to voucher any more for the identity of a friend or neighbor who shows up at the polling station without proper identitification.You will need real ID.
To crack down on illegal robocalls, the legislation obliges “robocall” telephone companies to register all their calls.
Still a bit of a problem. Those “mass calling” telephone companies will have to answer to the CRTC, not to Elections Canada. Does Harper think they are Radio stations!
The $1-a-vote taxpayer-funded subsidy to political parties will end next year. Good news for the Conservatives. They rely less on public subsidy money than other parties.
Elections Canada will be muzzled. All it will be allowed to tell you is where to vote, what time your polling station is open and what kind of idenitifcation will be accepted.
Elections Canada won't be allowed to warn you on election day about any voter scames being organized in your area by guess who.