Read the latest version of the ‘Fair’ Elections Act here.
10 Reasons Why The Fair Elections Act Must Go
1. It moves the chief investigator of election misdeeds — the Elections Commissioner — out of non-partisan Elections Canadian and into a government bureaucracy, the Office of the Public Prosecutor, which reports to the Justice Minister
2. It does not provide adequate tools for officials to investigate electoral fraud. People who are now stonewalling the investigations of misleading calls during the 2011 campaign will have the right to continue stonewalling in the future, if the Act passes as is. It fails to give officials the capacity that exists at the provincial level and in other agencies to compel witnesses to share information. This failure will make it almost impossible to crack cases, such as the current misleading calls investigation, where the culprits have carefully hidden their tracks.
3. It comes close to muzzling Elections Canada, limiting its public communications to telling folks where and how to vote. No other democracy places such a draconian level of control on its elections agency.
4. It gives political parties the power to name key elections staffers, rather than continuing the practice of Elections Canada hiring such people based on qualifications and merit.
5. It allows political parties to continue to keep their voter database information from investigators and Elections Canada officials.
There is strong evidence that the Conservative database was used in 2011 as part of efforts to deceive voters about polling places.
6. It fails to oblige political parties to fully report to Elections Canada on their use of public funds.
7. It raises political contribution and spending limits, for no demonstrable reason, except to get more money sloshing around the already money-soaked system.
8. It ends the practice of vouching, which will disproportionately prevent seniors, First Nations people and young Canadians from voting.
9. It bans the use of Elections Canada’s Voter Information Cards (VIC) as corroborating ID. Last election, those cards were crucial for the millions of Canadians who don’t happen to have picture ID that includes their addresses. Only 87 per cent of voting age Canadians have driver’s licenses, which are one of the very few forms of ID that include the required street address.
10. It creates a spending loophole that will allow political parties to spend as much as they like on campaign activity directed at donors of $20 or more. The Chief Electoral Officer told the House Committee that even if this loophole made sense and was based on some sound principal (which it does not appear to be) it is totally unenforceable. If this provision passes the next election campaign could become an orgy of virtually unlimited spending.