The federal Conservatives have proposed a new, so-called “Fair Elections Act” (Bill C-23). The problem is the Act will make federal elections more unfair in 5 key ways. Fair elections are key to having a democracy, and so the Act must be changed to make elections more, not less, fair. On April 25th, the Conservatives announced they will make changes to Bill C-23 -- but the changes are not enough to make the bill, or federal elections, fully fair.
The “Fair Elections Act” will make federal elections more unfair by:
1. Requiring more ID to vote, which will make it more difficult for hundreds of thousands of voters to vote – instead the current ID rules should be kept with the voter registration card added to the list of valid ID, and Elections Canada should be empowered and given the resources to hire election workers earlier and train them better, and to make the voter registration list even more accurate.
2. Allowing wealthy people and banks to give more money to parties and politicians (and to give some candidates unlimited donations in secret), which is a recipe for corruption -- instead, gifts, donations and loans should all be limited to amounts most people can afford, and should all be fully disclosed, and the per-vote annual funding for parties should be restored.
3. Allowing political parties to hide millions of dollars of election campaign spending that secretly violates spending limits, and to audit their own spending, both of which are also recipes for corruption -- instead, all spending should be disclosed and limited, and Elections Canada should do the audits.
4. Allowing the ruling party to choose who runs voting stations on election day, which is dangerously undemocratic and unethical – instead Elections Canada should appoint these people.
5. Requiring secrecy by election watchdogs – Bill C-23 requires election law enforcement agencies to keep their rulings on complaints about election law violations secret -- they must be required to disclose all their rulings to ensure they are enforcing the law properly.
As well, the so-called “Fair Elections Act” fails to make key changes needed to correct unfair flaws in our current federal elections system: to prohibit misleading election promises; make the voting system more representative; regulate nomination races to ensure they are fair and democratic, and; to give election watchdogs stronger powers to enforce the law.
Please let me know what you will do to immediately take action to ensure the above unfair measures are changed in Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, to make federal elections actually fair.
I will be deciding which political party to vote for in the next election based on the responses I receive from representatives in each party. I look forward to hearing from you.