Hidden in the Shadows

Candle reflections
Hidden in the shadows. Photography courtesy of Cam Wood.

I am using this picture done by a close friend of mine to provide a visual example of my point today.  I call it “Hidden in the Shadows” for a reason.  On the surface it looks very nice and peaceful.  However what effect would it have if I gave you details about the person using candles.  How much difference would it make it you knew they could no longer afford their hydro bill, power was turned off and they were reading by candle light.  The picture takes on a whole new meaning then.  It is those type of details that we no longer hear out of Ottawa and I, for one, want the details.  It was really lack of details that put my mother in the situation we just finished straightening around.

I mentioned in my last post the proposed “Fair Elections Act” which was also front and centre during Question Period today.  As a side note I’m not sure why they call it Question Period as anybody who bothers to watch is knows it is really “Avoid Answering the Question Period”.  Well this Fair Elections Act is very short on details as well so let me try and put some things in perspective.

I have been studying this Fair Elections Act (gives you an idea of how exciting my life is) and it is a scary piece of legislation.  I don’t expect everyone to read but I have added a link to the document in the event anyone of you want to see it.  I don’t just pull this stuff out of the air and do like to provide as much substantiation as possible.

This Act has the potential to disenfranchise a large number of voters.  For the record voter fraud made up 0.0000068% of the issues in the last few elections.  The bigger issue was voting process and irregularities conducted at the polls or in the voting process.  So the whole issue of voter vouching, a practice where someone vouch for you in order to vote, is really a non-starter but makes up a big part of this Act.  The people it will affect the most are the homeless, the disabled (I know very few blind individuals with picture ID as an example), seniors (lacking picture ID) and many Canadians where English is their second language.  In effect a large group of individuals who traditionally don’t vote Conservative.

This Act will also undermine Canadian democracy by removing the oversight ability of Elections Canada and turn them into more of a marketing board.  If passed this Act will take away almost all authority of Elections Canada and turn it over to people answerable to the ruling party.  Under this proposed piece of legislation Elections Canada will be able to tell Canadians where to vote and voting dates, end of story.  Their investigative authority will disappear.  Remember this is the same body who took the Conservatives to task over funding irregularities and through a plea detail the Conservatives paid a paltry $52,000 in fines.

Elections Canada is also the body that brought forward four charges against Dean Del Maestro for failing to fully disclose his election expenses in the 2008 election.  This followed an extensive investigation into Mr. Del Maestro’s reporting techniques and his years of accusing others of cheating while denying his own.  I must point out here that this case is still before the courts so he is innocent until proven guilty.  That is part of the democracy in Canada and he is entitled to his due process.  The same due process that this government suspended for four Senators just before Christmas.  This Fair Elections Act would remove all of those powers and silence yet another oversight body.

Where it really gets confusing and hidden in the shadows is the Neufeld Report.   Officially this is called the Compliance Review: Final Report and Recommendations.  This was a report done by Harry Neufeld and was an overview of election day registration and voting process rules.  Elections Canada also had a role in the production of this report released in 2013.  What is confusing?  Not one of the recommendations has been incorporated into this proposed Fair Elections Act.

In my humble opinion this Act should really be entitled “Lets Stack the Deck in Our Favour Act”.  And I haven’t even started on the whole funding component of this proposed legislation.  Canadians need to stand up and let their MP know just how undemocratic this proposed Act is while we still have some semblance of true democracy left in Canada.  Quit living in the shadows and shine some light on democracy!

Just one man’s opinion!


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