New election legislation not good for voters

We are very concerned about the new “Fair” Elections Act that is being proposed by the Harper Conservative government.

To the Editor:

I attended a mini rally in Keremeos on Tuesday afternoon. We are very concerned about the new “Fair” Elections Act that is being proposed by the Harper Conservative government.  The five of us talked together about the fact that very few people seem aware of the danger of this new attack on our democracy.

The Globe and Mail gave a summary of why we should be very worried.

Our federal Conservative government is changing the rules and moving the goalposts around to give them an even greater advantage in the next election.

They started by already eliminating funding for all political parties according to the number of votes they get. That funding was meant to level the playing field somewhat.  With this bill the limit on the amount a party or candidate can receive to spend on the election will be raised.  This obviously benefits the Conservatives, considering the deep pockets backing them and gives them unlimited spending power.

Elections Canada will be gutted of its power and will no longer be allowed to encourage people to vote.

The Chief Electoral Officer will be limited in what he will be able to say publicly.  I heard an interview with him and he said he will no longer be able to talk publicly about elections. He can only let people know where and when to vote. How weird is that?

The Commissioner of Canada Elections, who is responsible for investigating election irregularities will be removed from his office to become Director of Public Prosecutions, must report to the Justice Minister, and will not be able to investigate complaints from the last election or compel witnesses to give information.

It’s no wonder Harper is scared and has imposed closure on discussion of the Act.  I was surprised to read in the Canada Elections website that if a political party, its agent or an officer is convicted of an offence by the courts the Chief Electoral Officer has the power (so far) to deregister the party and liquidate its assets.

I would love to see a dialogue opened up on this issue.  It’s too important to let lie.

Sincerely,Donna Stocker, Cawston