Here is just a taste of irony to start things off.
Following the 2011 General Election there were charges of voter fraud in the riding of Etobicoke Centre. What happened was that there were a number of votes challenged because some people had voted outside of their own polling station even though their name was stroked off in their home polling station meaning they may have voted twice. Others had been allowed to vote without showing their voters card or any other ID, and some had been “vouched votes” but the paperwork for these votes were incomplete or in some cases nonexistent.
The Harper Party took the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada, but they weren’t the ones trying to get these votes removed. They were defending these votes.
They argued successfully at the SCC that the removal of these votes which would have turned the seat over to Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj that would be an affront to the voters that had supported their winner Ted Opitz.
Fast forward to today and Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act.
Suddenly the Harper Party has decided that under no circumstances should these “vouched votes” be accepted. If you do not have proper ID, you do not vote.
I’m not sure if this is a flip-flop or just hypocrisy.
Pierre (Skippy) Poilievre says his bill is terrific, that it isn’t based on expert opinions but on common sense. That’s how he can so easily brush aside any criticism from knowledgeable people like Sheila Fraser, Marc Mayrand, and so forth. If you’re not one these ivory tower elites and question this bill you are some lefty nut job and not worthy of the time to refute your case.
Well let’s try some common sense.
If voter fraud caused by vouching was a real issue wouldn’t there have been complaints from across the country about this? Aside from the Etobicoke Centre challenge, I really haven’t heard any complaints about it.
No, but I have heard plenty of complaints from across the country about RoboCalls. Why aren’t they controlled or banned in this bill? Wouldn’t that make sense?
Skippy’s bill wants to let the winners of the elections pick the officials for the next election. I sooo certain they would only pick honourable people and that there would be no favouritism shown at all. That would be like the Chicago Black Hawks getting to pick the refs for the next season because they won the Stanley Cup. How sensible does that sound? Think Chicago would make the finals again the next year?
Bill C-23 looks to constrain the powers of the Chief Electoral Officer and Elections Canada. To hear the Harper Party talk, there is an obvious bias against the Harper Party by these officials.
To tell the truth, the only cases of impropriety that I’ve heard about are with Harper Party candidates. What does common sense say to that?
The Harper Party says elections at the local level are run by amateurs and mistakes will occur, Elections Canada is chasing only their party for these minor offences. Well, maybe, but it’s more likely that these minor offences were dealt with by the other offenders when they arose. Common senses says that mistakes would likely happen about the same amount of time for all the parties, but only one party makes it a habit of not correcting these errors promptly. Or maybe there is only one party that broke the rules?
Skippy complains that Marc Mayrand only wants more power and more money to run Elections Canada. Well it does take years to get anything done through Elections Canada when questions of impropriety arise. Shouldn’t EC be able to get a warrant to compel witnesses to speak? Shouldn’t EC have the people available to investigate allegations and inform the public of these charges and whether they find enough merit in these cases to proceed with a full investigation?
Skippy, if you have issues with EC having the power to actually investigate and take action then maybe YOU have something to hide?
No, Common Sense wants elections determined on who present the best case on why Me and My Party have the best options for Canada, not who can raise the most money.
Common Sense wants a neutral party to oversee elections and to challenge and punish rule breakers.
Common Sense wants the same type of rules that govern income tax to cover elections. If you show campaign expenses, those expenses need to be accompanied by receipts to show how that money was spent. We refund a portion of those expenses, we want accountability.
And Common Sense wants anyone who is a Canadian Citizen and who is of legal age to vote to be able to vote.
We have come a long way from when an MP was selected by a show of hands by men who held property. It took a long time before we allowed women to vote and an even longer time before we allowed the First Nations to vote. These were steps in the right direction.
When I first voted, I simply walked into the polling station, told them who I was and they handed me a ballot. We didn’t have widespread voter fraud then, we don’t have it now. But now I need to provide ID or at least have someone who has valid ID vouch for me. The same routine you’d probably have to do if you take your 18 year old to vote if they don’t have a drivers licence.
For over 100 years we could vote with no ID required. If you are truly worried about voter fraud Skippy, why not put in a rule where I need to stick my finger in the inkwell when my ballot goes into the box? I don’t have an issue with this, it would be a source of pride to show that I have voted.
But I get to choose the finger.
In the mean time, since this flawed bill is going to be rushed through the pipes faster than any bill in the history of Canada, if you are concerned that you don’t have enough ID to vote, march your tuchas down to the nearest Provincial (or Territorial) Government office and get your Provincial/Territorial ID. In Ontario it will cost you $35.00 and is good for 5 years, but maybe paying $35.00 will give you the initiative to get your butt out to vote?