The monster Fair Elections Act, with its “sharper teeth, longer reach, and freer hands,” is being fast-tracked to the Senate even before it passes in the House of Commons because Steve is in a huge rush to ram it — and its accompanying muzzling of Elections Canada’s investigation into Con election fraud in the last election — through all the hoops in time for the next one in 2015.
If the senators here look fairly relaxed about having a monster in their midst, it’s because they already know how this particular story ends. This is the same bunch, after all, who just three months ago voted 51- 30 against having Deloitte partner Michael Runia testify about a phone call he received from his contact Senator Irving Gerstein amid PMO interference in Deloitte’s audit into Senator Mike Duffy.
Senator Claude Carignan, Con leader of the Red Chamber of sober second pre-thought, thinks it’s “a very good bill”:
“I don’t think the comments from the experts are appropriate,” he said.
Some of the urgent changes “have to be adopted at the end of June if we want to have [them] in application for the next election.”
“Conservative sources in the Senate tell the CBC’s Hannah Thibedeau and Rosemary Barton that Pierre Poilievre, minister of state for democratic reform, is open to changing the section of Bill C-23 that would eliminate the practice of vouching at polling stations.”
- gagging the head of Elections Canada;
- refusing him the power to compel testimony from suspected fraudsters;
- stopping EC projects to encourage voting;
- moving the investigator’s office under Peter MacKay;
- giving national and local party winners of the previous election the right to nominate the returning officers and poll clerks for the next election;
- not including fundraising to previous supporters as a campaign expense; and
- raising campaign donation limits from $1000 to $5000 and $25,000.
Mr. Poilievre indicated on Wednesday that reports might have been incorrect to indicate he was open to amendments — at least to replace vouching with a new system for electors without sufficient ID rather than offering no special measures at all. “I’ll let you know in a month when the committee actually reviews its amendments,” Mr. Poilievre told reporters. “And I think the bill’s terrific the way it is . . .”.