Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Harper: turning Canada into a "Pay-to-Play" democracy

Harper's move to reform Canada's election laws, his so-called Fair Elections Act,  contains an odious provision that is clearly designed to benefit the Conservatives and the socio-economic demographics of the Conservatives' base, by increasing in the level of donations that can be made by an individual.

Irrespective of which party might benefit from such a change, money should have no role to play in a democracy or in effecting the outcome of an election. Democracies are based on the principle of one person, one vote and not the principle of the person with more money to spend having a greater impact on an election's outcome than the person with less money to spend.

Harper's insidious move to increase the permissible level of donations is nothing less than changing Canada's democracy into a pay-to-play democracy, which is a very bad thing, no matter how you look at it.


New 'Fair Elections Act' to raise political donation limits: reports


By | Canada Politics – 10 hours ago

Details of the highly anticipated bill, however, seem to have already been leaked to two prominent Ottawa-reporters.
According to one, the new legislation will overhaul Elections Canada. Specifically, it will change how investigations are launched by the electoral watchdog.
"[The new bill] will rein in the power of the Chief Electoral Officer when it comes to launching investigations into violations of electoral law; and will end the practice of “vouching” for voters who don’t have proof of identification at the ballot box, according to sources who have seen the draft bill," the National Post's John Ivison wrote.
"The new bill will propose to remove the decision on whether investigations should be launched from the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand, and hand it to a new panel independent of the government and Elections Canada."
The Post and the Globe and Mail are also reporting that the political contribution limit — the amount of money an individual can donate to a federal political party in a given year — will increase from the current $1,200.
An independent democracy watchdog says raising the donor limit is a mistake.
"Raising the limit on donations is the most dangerously undemocratic and unethical change that the government could make," Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch told Yahoo Canada News.
"The limit is already much higher than an average voter can afford, and raising the limit will only allow wealthy people to buy more influence than they already can, and it will also lead to more corruption like happened in Quebec because it will make it easier for businesses and other organizations to funnel large donations to the parties through their executives and employees."
[ Related: Elections Canada chief in dark about election reform bill ]
The Tories originally promised a new Elections Act in 2012 during the height of the robocall scandal where voters in several ridings across the country alleged that they were misdirected to non-existent voting booths.
The opposition parties, however, are little weary of the Tories reforming the act that governs an institution with whom they've had a rocky relationship.
The Conservatives have battled the watchdog for years about the 'in and out' affair, the national ad buy loophole which the Tories finally plead guilty to in 2011. They've also called-out Elections Canada for not aggressively going after Liberal and NDP leadership candidates who still haven't paid back their debts.
"It's ominous ... given their track record with Elections Canada, which has been confrontational right from Day 1, and then resentful. It now may have moved to vindictive," deputy Liberal leader Ralph Goodale told the Canadian Press.
"It's significant that they've prepared this [bill] without any serious discussion with anyone at Elections Canada. I think everyone would be well advised to read the fine print with a great deal of care."

6 comments:

Dr Mike said...

I totally agree , the ability to fund should not be related to the ability to elect , money just clouds the bigger issues.

Everything Harper has done since 2006 has been to sway the political landscape in the favour of Conservatism and to eliminate his rival`s viewpoints.

This new election law is just one more step in his plan

Majority rule = benevolent dictatorship and maybe the benevolent is a stretch

Dr Mike Popovich

Anonymous said...

Dumb-ass comments.
Liberals donate more on a per person basis than Conservatives.
They are the ones that have stolen the most too...where is that Adscam money?

Brent Fullard said...

Spoken like a true dumb-ass Anonymous poster!

Anonymous said...

Mr Chretien took away large donations from "Bay Street" and from Unions. It was meant to hurt the PC's and the NDP. At the time it was heralded as a large step for Democracy because it put donations into the hands of "grass root" Canadians. Maybe the LPC should figure out a way to get back in favour with "grass root" Canadians rather then complaining about a Con PM tweaking a law that an ex Liberal PM put into effect to hurt his opponents.

Brent Fullard said...

I suggest you reread the blog post itself and the part that reads:

Irrespective of which party might benefit from such a change, money should have no role to play in a democracy or in effecting the outcome of an election. Democracies are based on the principle of one person, one vote and not the principle of the person with more money to spend having a greater impact on an election's outcome that the person with less money to spend.

Anonymous said...

$30B Income Trust Fiasco vs Adscam is that going to be the argument Mr Anonymous ?

JC