The most troubling concern about the Fair Elections Act is the restriction it will impose on our voting rights. In the past, the Voter Identification Card (VIC) used to be a legitimate and sufficient identification of voters, which is what happened in the last election with 120,000 citizens. Potential voters will need additional evidence of identity such as a driver's license or an address on a utility bill, items which some citizens do not have. Vouching, used in the past, will also be eliminated. The net result is that many young students, the unemployed, the homeless and First Nations Canadians will not be able to vote.
The bill eliminates two methods of voting that have proven effective in enfranchising voters. One is the long-standing Canadian practice of vouching that allowed 120,000 people to vote in 2011. The other is Elections Canada's expanded use of its Voter Identification Cards (VICs) for youth attending university, seniors in residence, and Aboriginal people living on reserve.
On Tuesday the Conservative government introduced the Fair Elections Act, a comprehensive list of reforms aimed at modernizing Elections Canada and Canada's whole electoral system. Bill C-23 was introduced by Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre and proposes to implement a number of recommendations made by the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).
New information reveals not even the private contractors hired by Elections Canada to investigate the possible 2011 "robocalls" are neutral, non-partisan individuals. A search reveals that many members on their board of directors have donated money to the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois -- the same parties which have the most to gain in propagating any sort of "robocall" voter conspiracy myth.
My recent Access to Information request revealed that Elections Canada has spent almost $780,000 chasing the fantasy that Conservatives robocalled Canadians into voting in the wrong places in the May 2011 federal election. In my previous post we learned that the Commissioner's Office spent $192,203.48 on "Investigators' Fees and Salaries." So who are these investigators?
Well, I mocked and I teased but in the end, I couldn't resist. Year-end retrospectives might be trite, but dagnabbit, they're also a lot of fun. So here's my picks for the "Top Five Media Bites Moments of 2012", also known as the "Top Five Times the Canadian Press Was Inadvertently More Interesting Than the Stories They Were Trying to Cover."
Nine months ago, you could scarcely open a newspaper without reading all sorts of scary allegations about the Prime Minister's secret army of robo-men and their efforts to systematically rig the 2011 election through ambiguously deceptive phone calls. But if you're still jonsing for a Robocall fix, fear not!