Maybe the election law will be fair after all
Any way possible... to win
It’s unusual for Conservative senators to tell Stephen Harper what to do. Even more unusual for Harper to listen to the “unelected senators” he is always putting down.
Yet it happened this week. A senate committee made up of twice as many Conservatives as Liberals brought out a report on Harper’s controversial election law which they had studied in detail.
Bill C-23 would change the electoral law to give Harper’s Conservative Party a major advantage in the next election, maybe even enough to get back into power.
Harper has reason to worry. He and his party are currently in third place in the public opinion polls, behind Justin Trudeau Liberals and Thomas Mulcair’s NDP.
Harper’s new election law would limit the power of the Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand to run honest election campaigns, and prevent the Commissioner of Canada Elections Yvon Côté from properly investigating such notorious election scams such as Pierre Poutine’s famous “robocalls” sending voters to non-existent voting stations in the 2011 election.
Bill C-23, in its present form, would knock a few hundred thousand voters off the voters list.
The victims would be mostly people who do not have voter identity cards with their photo, name and address. Among the hardest hit would be 300,000 First Nations people living on reserves where many of them don’t even have a street, let alone an address.
The aboriginal vote is not big on Harper these days - not with the oil pipelines Harper wants to send through their ancestral lands.
Students in residence have identity cards but often the address that appears is that of their parents, not their address at college or university.
The homeless also have trouble getting identity cards with their name and address. Many who live in homes for the elderly don’t have the identity cards Harper wants, and provincial health insurance cards are not much help. They have no address at all.
Sheila Fraser, former Auditor - General of Canada who exposed the scam in 2005, scrutinized the Harper’s Bill C-23 and called it «an attack on democracy. » This angered Harper whose people mounted a smear campaign against her in reply.
But the senators took her recommendations seriously and many were incorporated in their report.
When Harper’s Democratic Reform minister Pierre Poilievre said he would keep “an open mind” instead of dumping on the senators, Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair shot back that Poilievre “showed a greater willingness today to listen to non-elected senators than he has had to listen to elected members of the House of Commons. "
For years Harper has been mocking what he calls ‘non-elected senators.’ Mulcair turned the joke on Harper.
Conservative senators have something to gain if their recommendations end up in the new electoral law. Their reputation could use some rebuilding after what it suffered last year.