Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have a bad record when it comes to respecting our election laws.
Now they want to skew the next election in their favour with voter suppression tactics straight out of the U.S. Republican playbook.
The so-called Fair Elections Act will block tens of thousands of students, seniors and low-income Canadians from proving their right to vote by eliminating the long-standing practice of vouching, and expanding the use of voter ID cards. At the same time, it muzzles the chief electoral officer, and bans Elections Canada from even promoting the right to vote.
While the bill makes it harder for ordinary Canadians to vote, it will actually make it easier for big-money interests to influence our elections, by raising the donation limit to $1,500 and introducing loopholes to party fundraising spending.
Finally, after the widespread voter suppression and fraud during the 2011 election, this long-awaited legislation was supposed to offer tools to crack down on abuse. Instead, Conservatives refused to enact the most effective measure to enhance investigation – giving Elections Canada the power to compel testimony.
Canadians deserve better. They deserve genuine electoral reform to stop fraud, prevent big money from distorting elections, and ensure every Canadian can exercise their right to vote. Unfortunately, Stephen Harper has given us the opposite.
Leader of the Official Opposition