If it aint’ broke…

March 10, 2014

A Member of Parliament stands up in the House of Commons, to proclaim how “”I have actually witnessed other people picking up the voter cards and going to use them to vote. ”   The immediate question that springs to mind is, quite likely, “You saw a crime being committed and did not ever report this nor act upon it?”

But let’s put that aside for a moment.

Elections Canada, for those reading this not familiar with the federal Canadian voting system, is a government owned company whose sole purpose is to run Canadian federal elections.  Non-partisan, its employees are career civil servants.  They draw up the voting ridings, organize the polling stations, do all the counting, reporting, and record keeping.  They have done an exemplary job over the years, one that I have been able to leverage to tease my co-workers during voting oddities that surfaced during recent elections in the USA.  I even wanted to check the past voting history of my riding, and was able to get full tabulated results in very granular detail for each precinct going back over a half dozen elections.  The only scandal in recent memory (or easy Google search) involved things happening outside of the polling place.  They are solid.

So, I wonder why, then, would we need a poorly-publicized 244 bill to overhaul election rules?

The answer lays with that MP, and the dangling question.  Well, the true answer is, unfortunately, he never actually saw such a thing.  He lied in the House of Commons.  He is now claiming he merely “over spoke” and was simply recounting things he overheard some years ago.  (That there are flimsy excuses being made to not investigate nor censure this MP for false statements is another matter altogether, bringing the incredibly asinine notion of “not intended to be a factual statement” to the fore)  Yet, under this (false) spectre of fraud concerns, this bill is continuing to be pushed forward, a seemingly massive (else why the 244 pages?) changing of the rules that have thus far proven to be effective and fair, avoiding the shenanigans present in many other voting jurisdictions.

We have a system that has a good track record of integrity.  If there were any big structural flaws, I think we would have heard about them.  They would be news items after each election, and I dare say there would likely be much fiery rhetoric over it.  Yet there is none, and yet in this silence this large overhaul is being pushed through the legislature before the summer.   And just two changes of what is known of the bill – higher campaign donation limits and tighter ID requirements – smell of similar disenfranchisement provisions witnessed in other countries.

Please call or write your local MP to voice your displeasure over this bill and insist this bill is withdrawn.

(And if we do want to talk about reform, let’s begin talking about reforming first-past-the-post…)

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