Our beloved Harper Government of CanadaTM – grey be thy mane – has recently had one of his
disciples ministers of state, Pierre Poilievre, introduce the aptly named Fair Elections Act. This much-needed act removes the busy work of accessibility, the engagement of an increasingly apathetic voter base, and ‘fairness’ from our democracy. What can go wrong? One of the amendments in this bill prevents Elections Canada from launching ad campaigns to encourage Canadians to vote. This is a boon; I mean why would we ever want Elections Canada encouraging people to vote? Harper can scrap that nonsense. The bill provides another necessary change: bumping contribution limits for political parties and campaigns. Unfortunately, it’s only a small increase ($1,500), but it’s a step in the right direction. I, for one, stand behind our dear leader. The logic is clearly there. The formula is without flaw:
Democracy + More Money = Unbiased and sound democratic governance
The most important aspects of this bill are the changes coming to voter ID laws. While we’ve covered this act before, after Conservative MP Brad Butt walked back claims that he personally witnessed people scooping voter ID cards out of garbage bins, it is perhaps time to revisit it. The government is trying to crack down on the rampant spread of voter fraud by abolishing such atrocities as signing your name on a legally binding document declaring that someone you know who doesn’t have valid ID is who they say they are so that they can vote, a process known as vouching. This system must be destroyed; it’s not like there are legal repercussions for fraudulently vouching for someone, right? It’s barbaric. Speaking of ID, this bill also removes the ability to use the voter information cards– you know, the ones the government mails you– as valid ID. Why would something with your name and address on it, something the government mails you at that address, be acceptable as valid ID? I smell fraud.
Speaking of fraud, let us take a gander south of the border at both the cradle and the deathbed of democracy: The United States of America. Has this democratic plague jumped the border to infect us with imperfect election results and excesses of vitamin F (freedom)? Let’s look at the numbers. “Out of the 197 million votes cast for federal candidates between 2002 and 2005, only 40 voters were indicted for voter fraud […]. Only 26 of those cases or about .00000013 percent of the votes cast, resulted in convictions or guilty pleas.” It is worth mentioning however that in most the US there is no ID required of any kind.
The average Canadian will probably regard this kind of issue as being a complete non-issue. They would then surmise that, in fact, this seems like a deliberate effort by the Harper Government of CanadaTM to adopt similar measures that the American Republicans (and Democrats) have implemented to throw up barriers for demographics that are less likely to not possess acceptable forms of ID/vote their way. To which Mr. Harper might say “voter fraud is bad.” Indeed it is Mr. Harper, indeed it is, but as is voter suppression.
Simply put, Our Harper, who art in Ottawa, is trying to protect our democracy from the fraudulent masses attempting to skew votes through nefarious means. After all, he himself was elected in the past election. I have never once seen members of the conservative party attempting to fraudulently alter the results of elections. That isn’t something they do. They are merely attempting to push our electoral rules and regulations towards the shining example that the U.S. has set for us: money in politics has no negative consequences whatsoever, and making it more difficult for everyone to vote is the way to strengthen democracy and maximize representation. After all, what do they have to gain?