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Fair Elections Act hardly fair

Several news items about the Quebec election in regards to number of people being denied their right to vote and Robert Fife’s interview with Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre and then Tom Clark’s interview with Poilievre, raised some questions.

We have a right to vote, and many feel as I do an obligation to vote, not as some will say; it is only a privilege to vote. The Quebec election disenfranchising of voters appears skewed against anglophones and allophones, who historically are less likely to vote for the current governing party, Parti Quebecois.

Poilievre is ramming through Parliament a bill called Fair Elections Act that seems to be anything but fair and could disenfranchise 520,000 voters in somewhat similar fashion as the current Quebec election.

Opposition parties are against this bill, as expected, but so are returning officers, past and present. Provincial, federal, international, academics, watchdogs, democracy societies and political advocates have all come out against this bill.

The 520,000 disenfranchised voters will come about from the end of vouching and the end of voting cards used for ID.

These voters, by the way, historically do not vote Conservative.

The bill will see the incumbent party pick the deputy returning officer, the returning officer and the poll supervisors, so the deck will be stacked against non-incumbent voters.

This bill prevents Elections Canada from encouraging voters. This bill as it stands favours the Conservatives.

They ask how a party can bring forward a bill that affects our democratic rights, that diminishes our democracy without consulting the opposition, the experts, the public, and the history books? How can they ram it through with imposed deadlines and time allocations, when it trifles with the very basis of our democracy?

Will there be enough members of Parliament who can give this bill the scrutiny it deserves and have the strength to vote against it, if that is what it truly deserves?

I often wonder what kind of personal convictions MPs have, if any?

Will the Upper House give it the sober second thought it may need?

When a governing party sits at 28 per cent in the polls and the third place party is gaining momentum towards 40 per cent and majority territory, it forces the Conservatives to take drastic actions to make it harder to lose the next election.

Garfield Marks

Red Deer

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