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Accidental Deliberations: On vested interests

Shorter Linda Frum: As one of Stephen Harper’s hand-picked counterweights to the troublesome democratic rabble, I refuse to acknowledge any difference between “encouraging voter turnout” and “abetting electoral fraud”. The less people with a voice in how this country is run, the better.

The Canadian Progressive: Fair Elections Act could sink Stephen Harper and Conservatives in 2015

by: Obert Madondo | April 12, 2014

This week Canada’s two main opposition parties declared war on the Conservatives’ Orwellian Fair Elections Act. One that could bring down Harper during the 2015 federal election.

While falling short of declaring the Fair Elections Act an election issue for 2015, both the Official Opposition and third-placed Liberals are vowing to stand up for our right to vote.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says the focus of next election will be the ‘Fair Elections Act’. He wants Bill C-23 overhauled.

“We’re going to do everything we can to stop this thing,” Mulcair told delegates in (Read more…)

ParliamANT Hill: ConservAntive senAntor argues Elections Cantada shouldn’t promote voting

Inspired by this headline:

Alberta Diary: What happens now that we know there really is a cancer cluster in Fort Chip? Nothing?

Greenpeace Canada info-graphic showing connections among the far-right Conservative Party of Canada activists behind the so-called Ethical Oil Institute. Below: Dr. James Talbot; Dr. John O’Connor; Ezra Levant.

Alberta’s chief medical officer has now confirmed that statistics released a couple of weeks ago indicate there really is a cancer cluster in Fort Chipewyan, a predominantly native community about 280 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.

Fort Chip, as it is often known, has long been a subject of controversy about the health impacts of bitumen sands development because – possibly coincidentally, and possibly not – it is not far downstream and (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: Anita Vandenbeld on the "Fair" Elections Act

Anita Vandenbeld, past federal candidate in Ottawa West-Nepean and green lit candidate for the 2015 nomination has written a fantastic post for iPolitics about the “Fair” Elections Act and how regressive it truly is.

“The last time I worked in a country where a government used its majority in Parliament to ram through changes to an election law without public input was in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011. I never would have expected this in Canada.”

“I can honestly say that in all my years of working on democratic development with the United Nations, OSCE, NDI (Read more…)

The Right-Wing Observer: The Senate is drunk on partisanship

Unelected Conservative Senators have a surprising amount of electoral expertise. It must come from all those years of not getting elected.

@JDanAiken @bruceanderson Elections Canada should not have a vested interest in recording a high voter turnout. That’s a conflict.

— Senator Linda Frum (@LindaFrum) April 9, 2014

Every day these posers are proving the irrelevance of a partisan Senate…. this is not the stuff of sober second thought. Its stuff you expect from a bunch of drunks in a kitchen-party at 24 Sussex.

The post The Senate is drunk on partisanship appeared first on The Right-Wing Observer.

Politics, Re-Spun: Welcome to Stephen Harper’s Banana Republic

#PMSH goes #BananaRepublic: the (un) #FairElectionsAct lets incumbents SUPERVISE their own election! #cdnpoli

— Politics, Re-Spun (@PoliticsReSpun) April 6, 2014

Just how stupid does Stephen Harper think we are?

He thinks that we’re fine with the idea that incumbent parties should be able to pick the poll supervisors in the next election.

I kid you not.

This kind of contempt for democracy and embrace of corruption is the worst part of this brand new [un]Fair Elections Act.

This is the kind of thing for which Occupy Vancouver and Occupy Canada should be occupying every single Conservative (Read more…)

The Right-Wing Observer: Lukiwski doesn’t understand the meaning of transparency

Full disclosure: Tom Lukiwski is a four-letter word in my home. The fact this man continues to get elected in our home province embarrasses us deeply. He has a demonstrated ability, practiced really over decades, to offend people with thoughtless comments. Thankfully, we don’t live in his riding, so our shame is balanced by our pride in being represented by the honourable Ralph Goodale.

Context: Lukiwski serves on the PROC committee, currently studying everyone’s favorite piece of legislation since the last omnibus budget bill. Witness after witness is giving them an earful of negativity against Pierre Poilievre’s ‘terrific’ piece of (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: The "mother of all accountants" flays election bill

Sheila Fraser was once one of Stephen Harper’s favourite people. When she, in her capacity of auditor-general, exposed the Chretien government’s sponsorship scandal, sewing the seeds that would bring down the Liberals, Mr. Harper praised her handsomely as the “mother of all accountants” and in a neat turn of phrase remarked she “did not say that she thought that something smelled fishy. She

The Right-Wing Observer: Data Viz of poll results shows even Conservative voters hate the Fair Elections Act

A poll was commissioned by The Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students, and to find out how Canadians feel about the Fair Elections Act. The poll was conducted in late February and early March.

I started to put together a visualization of this data, starting with the first two questions asked in the survey. The questions asked about the bill were:

Please indicate how familiar you are with this Bill: very familiar, somewhat familiar, somewhat unfamiliar, or very unfamiliar. Please indicate how you feel about this Bill: Strongly oppose, somewhat oppose, neutral, somewhat support, strongly (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Robocalls and our Democracy: Michael Harris’ Compelling Ten Questions

Michael Harris: The Big 10

A must read for all who fear for our democracy, Michael Harris has done all Canadians a favour by spelling out ten questions he wants answered, along with some supporting facts that are background to each question he has posed. The inaction or lack of response by those whose job it is guard our democracy from voter suppression beggars belief. I trust that the three opposition parties will raise his article in iPolitics and his 10 questions during Question Period. And that they will demand that someone from Elections Canada appear to explain what is (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Majority of Canadians Oppose Harper’s “Unfair Elections Act”: POLL

by: Council of Canadians | Press Release

A new poll released today shows that a majority of Canadians oppose central features of the so-called “Fair” Elections Act, known as Bill C-23.

The provisions in the Unfair Elections Act that would eliminate the voucher system, prevent Elections Canada from publicly reporting on election fraud, and cancel Elections Canada’s research and public education programs received the most significant opposition. The poll was jointly commissioned by the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students, and

Seventy per cent of respondents said that the act’s elimination of Elections Canada’s ability to (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: In Open Letter, 19 Professors Denounce Harper’s Fair Elections Act

by: Various

We, the undersigned, international scholars and political scientists, are concerned that Canada’s international reputation as one of the world’s guardians of democracy and human rights is threatened by passage of the proposed Fair Elections Act.

We believe that this Act would prove [to] be deeply damaging for electoral integrity within Canada, as well as providing an example which, if emulated elsewhere, may potentially harm international standards of electoral rights around the world.

In particular, the governing party in Canada has proposed a set of wide-ranging changes, which if enacted, would, we believe, undermine the integrity of the Canadian (Read more…)

The Right-Wing Observer: Can we protect our Democracy from unscrupulous Democratic Reform?

When a person or an organization observes an opportunity for profit or gain and are then confronted with laws that make it illegal to proceed, they usually have to make a choice between two or three vastly different courses of action:

Break the law and attempt to escape detection, capture and punishment; Decide that the costs of being caught breaking the law are not worth the risk and forfeit said opportunity; or Decide that the law is morally right and therefore said opportunity does not actually exist.

In Ottawa, the Conservative Party of Canada currently reigns as the democratically elected, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Tim Harford proposes four first steps to start combatting income inequality. And the Star’s editorial board makes clear that there’s tax room available for Ontario (among other jurisdictions) to pursue in order to serve the public good: Sousa promises to protect the “middle class” — whatever that is. But he need not fear a backlash if his spring budget increases the burden on those making substantially more than the average, whether that starts at $150,000 or some higher level. Four other provinces — including B.C., whose government leans right — have (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On foreseeable dangers

The NDP is in the midst of its cross-country consultations on the Unfair Elections Act – with Charlie Angus’ visit to Regina today just one of the many stops along the way. But while the Cons’ insistence on ramming through changes to Canada’s elections law makes it unlikely that we’ll be able to work through all of the effects of the bill, let’s look at just a few as-of-yet-unexplored consequences of one of the more familiar provisions.

Here’s the language which rewrites the definition of an “election expense” to exclude communication with past donors: 376(3) The commercial value of services (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Stewart Prest writes about the Cons’ war against experts: (I)n modern democratic states one of the most important sources for non-partisan information and expertise is the government itself. Government bureaucracies are the only institutions in the world today with the access, the resources, and the motivation to systematically monitor and study the entirety of a country’s population and the extent of its human and natural environment.

Examples are legion, from statisticians to health officials to diplomats to environmental scientists. They exist throughout the much maligned but nonetheless vital bureaucracy of the country. Crucially, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Bruce Livesey discusses Tony Blair’s role in corporatizing social democracy. And Stephen Elliott-Buckley writes that there’s little reason to listen to the policy prescriptions of a financial elite class which is conspicuously ensuring that its future bears no resemblance to that of the general population.

- Jane Taber interviews Donald Savoie about the importance of our public service – and the decline it’s seen in recent years: What happened?

It was wrong to think that we could make the public sector look like the private sector. Well, frankly, it started with Margaret (Read more…)

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Bill C-23 – Stealing Democracy Part IX: The Shackles On Elections Canada Advertising

Ever since Bill C-23 was tabled, I have been baffled by the fact that the bill so viciously curtails the ability of Elections Canada to advertise and communicate with voters in S18: 18(1) The Chief Electoral Officer may provide the public, both inside and outside Canada, with information on the following topics only: 

(a) how to become a candidate; (b) how an elector may have their name added to a list of electors and may have corrections made to information respecting 35  the elector on the list;

(c) how an elector may vote under section (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Cracked Crystal Ball II: Bill C-23 – Stealing Democracy Part IX: The Shackles On Elections Canada Advertising

Montreal Simon: The Real Reason the Cons Want to Muzzle Elections Canada


They are only 25 second ads designed to encourage young Canadians to vote in 2008.But they are the reason the Cons are trying to muzzle the Chief Electoral Officer.Not because the ads didn't work, as they claim. But because they offended Big Oil. Read more »

Pample the Moose: Open Letter on the Fair Elections Act

Over the weekend, I was asked to sign an open letter regarding the proposed “Fair Elections Act”, a seriously-flawed piece of legislation with an Orwellian name.  I was happy to sign it, particularly as the recipient of a diversionary robocall in Guelph on voting day of the last federal election.  The open letter, signed by many Canadian professors, appeared in the National Post and Le Devoir today.  I encourage you to read the letter, which outlines a number of key concerns.

The press release accompanying the letter reads as follows:


Autonomy For All: Canada Moving Toward US Style Partisan Administered Elections

I am by no means well read on the nitty gritty of Canadian federal elections, but this strikes me as an incredibly bad idea: [Former B.C. Chief Electoral Officer Harry Neufeld] says Section 44 of the government’s new legislation would allow all central polling supervisors to be appointed by a riding’s incumbent candidate or the candidate’s party.“It’s completely inappropriate in a democracy, ” said Neufeld.

Under current legislation, central poll supervisors are appointed by returning officers, who are hired by Elections Canada. The supervisors are put in place at polling stations to make sure voting unfolds smoothly.

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Alison and PressProgress both discuss how Brad Butt’s attempt to defend voter suppression is based on what even he had to concede was nothing short of legislative fraud. And Stephen Maher notes that the Cons’ unilateral rewrite of election rules figures to force Elections Canada to cover up the Cons’ pattern of illegal activity.

- Meanwhile, Jason Fekete reports on the Cons’ deliberate ignorance of deputy ministers’ advice that the government can’t keep stonewalling against action on climate change – and follows up by pointing out the NDP’s work to challenge the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Murray Dobbin points to the oil sector’s utter domination of Canada’s federal political scene. And Dr. Dawg sums up the problem: Briefly, the Harperium has now taken to grossly misusing the state apparatus to spy upon and intimidate citizens who dare to disagree with the Prime Minister. The RCMP and CSIS have been improperly deployed against perfectly non-violent folks who happen to oppose the development of the filthy, polluting Alberta Tar Sands—including a story-telling seniors’ group.

The cop-and-spook brigade have, as it turns out, been meeting in cabal with oil company execs, (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s Orwellian “Fair Elections” Act Violates Canadian Constitution

by: Obert Madondo

Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Photo by Remy Steinegger

The Harper Conservatives’ Bill C-23, the so-called “Fair Elections” Act, violates Section 3 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It’s clear the Conservatives are preparing to steal the 2015 federal election. Bill C-23 is part of their ongoing war on the politically-marginalized. It unequivocally proposes to disenfranchise non-Conservative voters and marginalized groups.

The Charter’s Section 3 clearly states that “Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of the members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for (Read more…)