“Canada is a world leader in helping to promote democracy and good governance in Ukraine.”
– Stephen Harper
When Parliament passed the Fair Elections Act Tuesday night, Canada became a beacon of democracy in a sea of totalitarian chaos. Accordingly, Canada’s Prime Minister, a trade promoter, is already preparing to export our newest most valuable resource. Canada will send election observers to Ukraine to monitor the country’s upcoming May 25th Presidential election. At first, it sounds too ironic to be possible. Where does one begin to examine this story?
Before acknowledging the problematic nature of the mission, it’s worth asking where the Canadian government gets the money to fund this endeavour. It will cost $11 million dollars to send observers to Ukraine. That’s enough to keep the Experimental Lakes open for 5.5 years. When faced with the Experimental Lakes decision, funds were short, but now, apparently, Canada’s Conservative government has found a way to clone Robert Borden.
That’s a major scientific advance. It is way more difficult than, say, understanding the root definition of democracy. Simply put, democracy is government by the people. In general terms in a modern society, “the people” usually refers to all the people, not just a select few. Democracy is not, therefore, rule by Pierre Poilievre. This should not be surprising. Yet, for a majority of MPs in the Canadian House of Commons, it is.
Now, we’re sending those MPs and their favourite friends to scrutinize an election in another country. What will that look like? Here’s one scenario. On election day, May 25, Ukrainians wake up to the following message stapled to their doors:
In the name of democracy, we have made a few changes. Firstly, we have increased political donation limits so that the rich now have more control over your country. Secondly, we have made it so that many of you cannot vote. Finally, if there was ever the semblance of an independent election investigator in your country, there is no more. Why? Because we’re here!
Moving beyond direct references to the Fair Elections Act, there are other reasons why Ukrainians should be concerned about Canadians observing their election. First of all, Canada has a habit of sending dopes to do serious work. Last time we sent observers to Ukraine we included a man named Ted Opitz. In 2008, Opitz donated more than 4 times the legal limit to his own campaign, and thereby demonstrated that he: (1) doesn’t understand election law; or (2) displays contempt for free, fair, and open elections. As far as Canada’s Conservative government is concerned, he was perfect for the job.
That could be because this government is guilty of the same incompetence or contempt as Opitz. Remember the in-and-out scandal? The robocalls scandal? Peter Penashue? Dean del Mastro? Jeff Watson? Shelly Glover? James Bezan (who is relieved that the Fair Elections Act will change the law that he broke)? Or Shelly Glover again? There are others, but it would be a waste of energy to try to track them down. The point here is that this government is full of people who either don’t understand or love to break election laws.
Is this cause for concern in Ukraine? Yeah, probably. Inviting Canada to observe elections is like appointing an unapologetic criminal to the Supreme Court. It doesn’t make sense. Yet this all hinges on one key assumption: that Ukraine invited Canada to observe its elections. Did Ukraine invite Canada, or did Deceivin’ Stephen invite himself? An exporter needs an importer, whereas a dumper just needs a pile of refuse and someone to turn a blind eye. If Stevie Blunder actually talks about Ukraine to make himself more popular in Canada, a self-invitation (“democracy dump”) isn’t out of the question. In that case, Ukraine has every right to ask him to show ID at the door, and to rewrite some laws to invalidate Canadian ID. If Harper is upset, they can tell him that there are still over 190 other forms of ID you can use to get into Ukraine. He has no right to complain.