Let’s Strengthen Canadian Democracy // 聯邦政府應鼓勵投票 而非遏制投票
March 31st, 2014 - 12:58pm
In the last federal election nearly 40 percent of Canadians didn’t cast a ballot. It was one of the lowest turnouts in our country’s history. Many of those who didn’t vote were young Canadians, low-income Canadians, and others who increasingly feel left out of the political process.
As Members of Parliament we have an obligation to interact with and engage Canadians in our democratic process. Instead of reaching out to engage Canadians, on February 4th, 2014 the Conservative Government introduced “The Fair Elections Act”, bill C-23 making it harder to vote and potentially preventing hundreds of thousands of Canadians from exercising their right to vote.
The Conservatives so-called Fair Elections Act does this in four ways:
Voter suppression: If you can’t produce the right combination of officially-recognized ID, with proof of current address, you won’t be able to vote— disproportionately affecting students, First Nations, lower-income Canadians and others who tend not to vote Conservative. Voter ID cards or “vouching” won’t secure your right anymore.
Weaker fraud investigations: The bill moves Elections Act enforcement from a body reporting to Parliament (Elections Canada) to one reporting to the Conservative government (Director of Public Prosecutions).
New spending loopholes: Campaign donation ceilings will jump 25%, and candidates will be allowed to “donate” $5000 to themselves. Parties will also be allowed to spend unlimited money soliciting donations from past donors—an immediate advantage for the Conservatives.
A muzzle on Elections Canada: The bill removes public education from Elections Canada’s mandate and bans outreach campaigns designed to encourage Canadians to vote.
Passing major changes to the Elections Act should be done in a non-partisan way, consulting with experts and all parties. The Conservatives had a chance to show leadership, but instead they failed to consult the top expert on elections law – the Chief Electoral Officer – and then moved to shut down debate an hour after the Minister introduced the bill.
Canada’s top elections expert, the Chief Electoral Officer, testified before the Parliamentary committee yesterday and raised several concerns that remain unanswered. Marc Mayrand said that there’s no other democracy in the world whose government has restricted public education on electoral fraud among other things.
Canadians deserve better.
For four weeks Canada’s New Democrats have been fighting hard to force the government to hold Canada-wide public meetings on electoral reform. We devoted an Opposition Day to it. We launched a petition and started an outreach campaign to inform the public. My colleagues and I are doing everything we can to bring public and media attention to this important issue.
Canada’s New Democrats will be moving forward with pan-Canadian consultations on the Conservatives’ Unfair Elections Act. While the groundswell of opposition to this unfair bill continues to grow, New Democrats will continue to lead the fight to make sure Canadians are heard.
Please visit our new website http://saveyourvote.ca/ for more information on community consultations in your neighbourhood.
By Fin Donnelly, Member of Parliament
Published in the World Journal, June 2014
身為國會議員，我們有義務鼓勵和促使加拿大國民參與投票的民主程序。然而，聯邦保守黨政府卻反其道而行，於2月4日提出C-23「公平選舉法案」(The Fair Elections Act )，讓選民更難投票，並可能阻擋成千上萬加拿大國民行使他們應有的投票權利。
唐耐勵 (Fin Donnelly)