The Conservatives successfully rammed their amended Fair Elections Act through the House of Commons today by a vote of 146 to 123. The election reforms are set to make voting more difficult in 2015, requiring voters show a photo ID containing an address (which is limited in scope). Bill C23, as initially introduced seemed to be an attempt to rig the next election but while some of the more radical changes have been crossed out, the alarm bells ring at the nature of the amended legislation and the motives behind it.
The Conservatives’ Fair Elections Act defies reason and defies advice from electoral experts. The only people supporting Bill 23 are a small number of Conservative insiders whom revolve around the increasingly secluded world of Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. With such an outstanding rejection to such illogical policy, one must wonder what motive lies behind the stubborn push to get it passed.
Recent events have trumped Conservative tough on crime rhetoric. From the Duffy Affair to Rob Ford’s drug problems, the Conservatives have been slow to realize these events are their time to shine, not fail as miserably as they have.
The senate voted to suspend senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau without pay yesterday, an unprecedented move that has trumped due process in an attempt to silence a year-long scandal.
Elections Canada has laid charges on Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro and one of his campaign staffers after a two year investigation into his campaign finances. If convicted, Del Mastro could face a $5,000 fine and 5-year jail sentence for concealing $21,000 in campaign expenses. The PMO has since expelled him from the Conservative caucus and his court date is set for November 7, 2013.
Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro broke the silence yesterday after allegations of overspending and confusing robocalls arose a year ago. The allegations led to a Parliamentary Committee that was supposed to question Del Mastro and when the time came to get the answers, the NDP chair shut down the committee. Del Mastro spoke on CBC’s Power and Politics demanding Elections Canada either drop a charge or clear his name.
Conservative MPs Shelly Glover and James Bezan are in legal trouble over financial filings from the last election campaign – Glover has the added accusation of running a misleading robocall campaign. Chief Electoral officer Marc Mayrand sent a letter to the Speaker, Conservative MP Andrew Scheer, asking that the two MPs be removed from the House of Commons. The Liberals asked for the letter, Scheer told them to find it online. The Tory MPs face serious allegations of electoral misuse and the NDP are going to support them on Monday.
Elections Canada has sent letters to the Speaker putting two Conservative MPs in legal limbo after failing to file campaign documents in the 2011 election. Saint Bonifice MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Finance Minister Shelly Glover and Selkirk-Interlake MP James Bezan are challenging Elections Canada and if a judge rules against them, they will be thrown out of the House of Commons.
What started as an isolated set of robocalls misdirecting voters in Guelph expanded to effect over 50 ridings as irregularities happened during the 2011 election campaign that gave the Conservatives their coveted majority. Did the Conservatives legitimately win the 2011 election campaign? Let’s take a look at the scandal from how it unfolded.