Once again the Conservatives have used their majority muscle to push through an unnecessary bill that no one has asked for.
On May 13th, Bill C-23 passed third reading. The bill has ironically been dubbed the Fair Elections Act even though the bill actually does less to make elections fair and more to make them difficult.
Pierre Poilievre, the man spearheading the movement behind the bill, has said that the Fair Elections Act will, “Allow Elections Canada to focus on its core mandate of running elections fairly and efficiently.”
If by saying that, Poilievre actually means the Fair Elections Act will allow the government more control over elections, prevent Elections Canada from freely promoting voting and make it more difficult for Canadians (particularly students, seniors and the newly relocated) to vote, he is absolutely right.
Now before the Senate, the bill is expected to become law before the next federal election. Poilievre has said this shows the Fair Elections Act has a lot of support in both houses.
Once again, he isn’t saying exactly what he means. A more accurate statement would be that the Conservatives support the bill and are in control of both the House of Commons and the Senate, so they will use their majority to muscle the legislation through despite any opposition.
If anyone is wondering why the Conservatives have suddenly decided to respond to the lack of citizens crying out for election reform, Poilievre has said that Bill C-23 has come about in response to Elections Canada failing to boost voter turnout.
Making it more difficult for voters to vote is certainly a counter-intuitive attempt at improving voter numbers, but it is one that we hope succeeds because it is the only way to get rid of this pointless and unjust law.
Both the major opposition parties have loudly voiced their opposition to the Fair Elections Act, even after its more recent amendments. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau has even said the Liberals would repeal the law should they form government in the next election.
Voting is the most powerful weapon the average Canadian has when it comes to the political process and it is one that is grossly under-used. Policies like this demonstrate how important voting is. Keep that in mind when it comes time to head to the polls next year.
Bill C-23 is an affront to Canadian democracy and the Fair Elections Act is a laughable name for the legislation.
Hopefully, the bill (or law as it will likely be by then) will be a rallying cause for Canadians to exercise their right to vote in the 2015 election.