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Conservatives’ election reforms have taken ‘the referee off the ice,’ chief electoral officer says


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Conservatives’ election reforms have taken ‘the referee off the ice,’ chief electoral officer says

OTTAWA — Canada’s chief electoral officer says the only team sweater he wears is the striped “white and black,” and that a Conservative overhaul of the Elections Act will take the referee off the ice.

In his first comments on sweeping new elections legislation by the Harper government, Marc Mayrand says he hopes there is extensive public consultation and debate over the proposed changes.

Mayrand was responding to comments by Conservative minister Pierre Poilievre, who introduced the bill Tuesday by saying Canada’s elections “referee should not be wearing a team jersey.”

“Listen, the only team jersey that I think I’m wearing — if we have to carry the analogy — I believe is the one with the stripes, white and black,” a shaking Mayrand said following a committee hearing on Parliament Hill.

“What I note from this bill is that no longer will the referee be on the ice.”

Mayrand’s reaction comes as the government moves to shut down debate in the House of Commons and speed the legislation to committee.

Among other things, the bill would end the practice of allowing people to vouch for other voters who lack identification. It would also allow political parties to spend more during campaigns, set rules for using robocalls and impose stiffer penalties on those who abuse automated telephone messaging.

Poilievre’s opening shot at the impartiality of Elections Canada came after years of investigations of alleged Conservative wrongdoing that began with the in-and-out financing scheme in the 2006 campaign that brought Prime Minister Stephen Harper to power.

The party eventually pleaded guilty in 2011 and paid the maximum fine in return for charges being dropped against two Conservative party officials.

But it was Elections Canada’s continuing investigation into fraudulent automated phone calls following the 2011 election that pushed electoral reform to the forefront.

The long-delayed Conservative legislation introduced this week is supposed to address some of the investigative shortfalls revealed by the lingering “robocalls” affair.

The bill will move the commissioner of elections, who conducts investigations, into a separate office from Elections Canada and under the authority of the director of public prosecutions.

Mayrand said splitting up his office is not his concern, but the failure to give the commissioner more powers should be addressed.

“What worries me, I must say, is whether the commissioner will get the toolbox he needs to do his job. And I’m afraid that I don’t see it in the act as it’s currently written.”

Mayrand said the lack of transparency of political parties is not addressed in the bill. The commissioner is not being given the power to compel testimony from witnesses, he added.

The chief electoral officer says he hopes he’ll have time to analyze the 242-page bill, given that the government took years to write it.

Election reforms in Canada have typically come about through all-party consensus “and after extensive public consultation,” said Mayrand.

“It’s fundamental as to the legitimacy of those who govern us. So I think it’s absolutely essential that the public pay attention and get involved in expressing their view.”

“The Elections Act is all about democracy and the democracy we want in this country,” he said.

As Mayrand spoke, New Democrat MPs were tying the House of Commons in procedural knots to protest the government’s plan to curtail debate on the legislation.

Eventually the government won a vote on a motion to limit debate to three days before sending the bill on to committee.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said the motion to shut down debate demonstrates the Conservatives are trying to push through legislation that is designed to load the dice in their favour.

“It’s an affront to democracy, and we will fight them every step of the way,” said Mulcair.

“The sad irony is that they’re shutting down democratic debate on a bill that further erodes the democratic rights of Canadians, especially for the most vulnerable.”

Mayrand also said his earlier analysis of the bill also relates to the way it “seems to be limiting access for certain categories of voters.”

Former elections watchdog Jean-Pierre Kingsley also bemoaned the lack of multi-party consensus in the approach to electoral reforms.

In an interview, the former chief electoral officer said at one time reforms used to pass through Parliament relatively smoothly because the government consulted in advance with opposition parties and Elections Canada to ensure legislation was perceived as non-partisan.

Kingsley said that process has been gradually breaking down for years but it’s “entirely of another order” today.

“It’s so hyper-partisan that even the good that’s in the bill, people are just not willing to accept that there could be some good, they’re just saying, ’There must be something that we don’t understand. What is it that they’re trying to do’?”

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/02/06/conservatives-election-reforms-have-taken-the-referee-off-the-ice-chief-electoral-officer-says/

So to sum it up, a party that plead guilty to an in-and-out scheme (that is, breaking the election rules) intends to change election rules, without input from the opposition, the public, or even head of Elections Canada (lying about this last part, too), push it through without discussion, and in the process disenfranchise ~120,000 voters based on "irregularities" (oh the evils of missed check boxes, your days are numbered).

That's some good governing there, Lou.

Election day can't come soon enough. On the bright side, leaves plenty of time for Cons to continue to drive home the point that they aren't, and never were fit to run this country.

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Too bad cheating doesn't seem to.

How is moving the "referee" into the office for prosecution cheating?

How is eliminating vouching cheating?

How is allowing all parties to spend more on an election cheating?

How is putting limitations on robocalls cheating?

Further, is the approach to introduce this legislation consistent with the Canadian system of governance?

Does a majority party have the right to introduce any legislation it wants passed?

Does a majority party have the right to move legislation forward?

Does a majority party have the right to close off debate?

The point is this: Under the way the Canadian system of governance is set up, a duly elected majority party has earned the right to govern the country how they see fit, no matter how much the loyal opposition whines and complains. If the NDP wants the system change, then it needs to convince enough Canadians in enough ridings to vote for them.

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How is moving the "referee" into the office for prosecution cheating?

How is eliminating vouching cheating?

How is allowing all parties to spend more on an election cheating?

How is putting limitations on robocalls cheating?

Further, is the approach to introduce this legislation consistent with the Canadian system of governance?

Does a majority party have the right to introduce any legislation it wants passed?

Does a majority party have the right to move legislation forward?

Does a majority party have the right to close off debate?

The point is this: Under the way the Canadian system of governance is set up, a duly elected majority party has earned the right to govern the country how they see fit, no matter how much the loyal opposition whines and complains. If the NDP wants the system change, then it needs to convince enough Canadians in enough ridings to vote for them.

You should acquaint yourself with the In-and-Out scandal. You're welcome.

You may also wish to read up on the scandals that flowed out of the last election. "Duly elected majority." Thanks for the chuckle.

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You should acquaint yourself with the In-and-Out scandal. You're welcome.

You may also wish to read up on the scandals that flowed out of the last election. "Duly elected majority." Thanks for the chuckle.

Did the Canadian people vote the Conservative party out after the scandal? No. There has been a couple of elections since this first happened and they have increased their majority. Enough said. The Canadian people did not rebuff the CPC.
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Did the Canadian people vote the Conservative party out after the scandal? No. There has been a couple of elections since this time and they have increased their majority. Enough said.

Tell me which part of the post below you're having trouble with.

Too bad cheating doesn't seem to [have consequences].

148 IQ? ROFL

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Non whatsoever. Best if you would try to understand how the Canadian parliamentary and election systems actually work.

And I demonstrated a lack of understanding... where?

Best you don't toss crap at me and see what sticks, because none of it will. Perhaps you should acknowledge that CPC plead guilty to cheating in 2006 instead of weaseling about. That'd go a long way to being taken seriously.

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And I demonstrated a lack of understanding... where?

Best you don't toss crap at me and see what sticks, because none of it will. Perhaps you should acknowledge that CPC plead guilty to cheating in 2006 instead of weaseling about. That'd go a long way to being taken seriously.

So they plead guilty! Did the Canadian people vote them out of office? No. Enough said.

In 2006, the CPC had won the election as the largest minority party. In 2008, they were elected again--still as the largest minority party. And in 2011, they won with a majority and now in full control.

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And that's where "cheating doesn't have consequences" comes in. Are you seriously not getting this?

LOL @ your edit. Thanks for the rundown, only question I have is: And?

Okay, cheating have consequences. Amen! Did the Canadian people vote them out of office for "cheating"? No, they gave them a majority.

Further, as to my list of questions, how can any of those issues be construed as cheating?

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Okay, cheating doesn't? have consequences. Amen! Did the Canadian people vote them out of office for "cheating"? No, they gave them a majority.

Further, as to my list of questions, how can any of those issues be construed as cheating?

Jesus Christ you must be dense. I NEVER SAID ANY OF THOSE THINGS ARE CHEATING. I was specifically talking about cheating in the 2006 election, and instead of suffering consequences, being re-elected, and again.

I think I chewed this thoroughly for you, just don't choke when swallowing.

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Here's some insight into a Conservative MP's reasons for one of the reforms:

Brad Butt Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to talk a bit about this vouching system again. I know the minister represents an urban city. I am from a semi-urban area of Mississauga, where there are many high-rise apartment buildings. On mail delivery day when the voter cards are delivered to community mailboxes in apartment buildings, many of them are discarded in the garbage can or the blue box. I have actually witnessed other people picking up the voter cards, going to the campaign office of whatever candidate they support and handing out these voter cards to other individuals, who then walk into voting stations with friends who vouch for them with no ID.

Does the minister not believe this kind of thing will get cleaned up properly with this bill?

http://openparliament.ca/debates/2014/2/6/brad-butt-1/

How stupid do Conservatives think Canadians are? It looks like very, very stupid.

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Tell that to the Liberals. I'd say the same thing about the NDP, but they're lucky to be playing for 2nd from here on out.

Cannot remember the last true scandal the Libs were in. Adscam? Ya...except now the Cons have spent over 100x that amount in their action scam.

Can't keep pointing fingers at someone else. And that NDp crap has to stop. They've never formed government, and as I was a Con voter my entire adult life until 2006 ish, I can say without question that the big two red and blue need to be relegated and allow someone else to try.

cannot mess up worse than Harper has or Trudeau would.

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Tell that to the Liberals. I'd say the same thing about the NDP, but they're lucky to be playing for 2nd from here on out.

Like clockwork, a Con hack comes along to redirect attention to the Liberals. And how could he forget the evil NDP. Just don't look at the party in power NOW.

Makes me sick.

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