Harper goes after Sheila Fraser

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She rips part his new Election legislation

Not the woman he used to know...



The star of the sponsorship scandal in 2005, Sheila Fraser, has become the bane of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

She was the one who exposed the corruption of the former Liberal government 10 years ago, opening the doors wide for Stephen Harper to slip into power in the federal elections that followed.

In a speech ten years ago Fraser Harper referred to her kindly as «the mother of all accountants» and praised her to high heaven.

But with the same thoroughness she had 10 years ago, Fraser has just finished scrutinizing  Harper’s  Bill C -23, what the Opposition is calling the “Unfair Elections Act.” And what she said about it was not very nice at all.

"This legislation is an attack on our democracy, » said Fraser.

Bill C -23 must be thrown out and Harper must start all over again.

What Harper has done would remove the right to vote from almost half a million Canadians, particularly First Nations people and students living away from their permanent residences. It would reduce the independence of the Elections Canada, make its investigations into electoral corruption more difficult, and would give a distinct advantage to the rich to contribute more to the political party of their choice.

It would help more the Conservatives who do not rely heavily on the youth vote or on the First Nations and rely more heavily on the rich and the elderly.

The Conservatives hope to win the next election although Justin Trudeau and his Liberals are 10 points ahead of them in the polls, exactly the advantage that the Conservatives over the Liberals in the last election.

Bill C-23 could reverse the standings in favor of the Conservatives. That is why the Conservatives don’t want to make a single change to the legislation.

Fraser has gone further. She urges Canadians to speak out against the legislation.

"Elections are the foundation of our democracy and if we do not have a fair electoral process that can be managed well by a truly independent body, it is really an attack against our democracy and we should all be concerned about this, » Fraser said in an interview.

The Minister for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre insists that his bill is «just terrific" in its present form. He has no intention of changing it.

It is more difficult for Harper to ignore Fraser’s scathing critique. She has credibility.

Harper makes no secret of his dislike for Elections Canada and its leader, Marc Mayrand who ironically, he named to the job.

Perhaps it was because Elections Canada nailed the Conservative Party in a case of false election expenses in 2006. It cost the party a $ 50,000 fine but at least none of the party organizers went to jail.

Then it nailed Intergovernmental Affairs minister Peter Penashue with excessive and illegal election expenses and he lost his job.

Harper’s former parliamentary secretary, Dean Del Mastro is accused of election misrepresentation, and for failing to declare campaign expenses. The case is still before the courts.

The most important case yet is the most famous of all – the automated calls featuring a fictitious  «Pierre Poutine " of "Separatist Street" in Joliette sending liberal voters to non-existent polling stations in Guelph in the 2011 election. The case is expected to come to trial this summer.

Fraser is particularly troubled by what Bill C-23 would do to the independence of  the Chief Electoral Officer.

He would be forbidden to communicate with Canadians about anything except date, time and place to vote, and the Commissioner of Elections would be forbidden to speak publicly about his investigations.

Pierre Poutine would really like that particular clause.


Little surprise that Fraser is so dead-set against Bill C-23 and Harper is so much for it.


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