Saturday, February 08, 2014

Stealing Democracy: Part IV - Marc Mayrand Responds

When it comes to reviewing Bill C-23, as much as I enjoy exploring the labyrinthine language of legalese, I am also interested in what the current head of Elections Canada has to say - after all he's spent the better part of the last decade in that space.

Pierre Poilievre, the minister of state for democratic reform, justified the move to strip many of Elections Canada's powers by saying "the referee should not be wearing a team jersey." 
But Marc Mayrand, the chief electoral officer, told reporters that if he's wearing a jersey, it only has black and white stripes. 
"What I note from this bill is no longer will the referee be on the ice," Mayrand told reporters after a committee hearing on another matter on Parliament Hill. 
"The referee won't be able to call an offside." 
Mayrand told reporters he is concerned the bill, the Fair Elections Act, prevents him from adequately communicating with Canadians, limits citizens' ability to vote and may hamper investigations into major election breaches. 
"I can't talk about anything other than where, when and how to vote," Mayrand said.
This is important.  When Marc Mayrand says this, it should be alarming.  He's basically pointing out that the act guts the ability of Elections Canada to investigate electoral cheating.

Minister Poilievre's quip about "wearing a team jersey" implies that Mr. Mayrand is somehow "partisan" in his conduct - an accusation that makes little or no sense.  But then again, it has been the CPC which has been repeatedly under investigation for violating various aspects of the existing legislation - from individual candidates breaking spending limit rules to the Robocalls scandal.  The Conservatives have tried to violate Canada's elections laws at every turn for years, and then they have complained loudly that they are being "picked on" for "partisan" reasons.

I think the truth is far, far bleaker than that.  The CPC under Stephen Harper is rewriting the rules now so that they can do whatever they wish and not be held accountable for it.   

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