New Elections Act sounds like it could be fair

The Fair Elections Act. Is it fair, or unfair? Bill C-23 has certainly been a hot topic of debate since being introduced in February by Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre. Its stated target is election fraud.

Critics are claiming it is a partisan document, and the ramping up of rhetoric leaves us clamoring for the facts.

The Senate has made nine recommendations that Poilievre has indicated will be seriously considered prior to its presentation to parliament for ratification.

One of the points the Senate isn’t disagreeing with is what is termed “vouching”.

According to the Globe and Mail, in the last federal election, there were 120,171 cases of vouching. It’s an invitation for fraud.

Considering some ridings throughout the country are decided by literally a handful of votes, that is not an insignificant number. The Fair Elections Act eliminates that. Is that draconian? Another major tenet the Fair Elections Act demands is that people who turn out to vote must bring with them one of 39 different pieces of possible identification.

It doesn’t have to be photo ID. Why is that wrong? We can’t cash a cheque or drive a car without proper identification. Why shouldn’t we have to provide legitimate ID at the polls to prove we are who we say we are? For third party advertising, the $200,100 that is currently allowed for ad spending during an election campaign period is now extended to include anything in relation to an election, including activity outside the election period. This will effectively reduce the amount of money third party groups can spend, as previously, that number could, technically, be unlimited.

Donation limits are going up, from $1,200 to $1,500, and each year after that, by $25 per annum, and there is a ban on union and corporate money, which will remain in place should Bill C-23 pass into law. That means it is keeping big money out of elections. Our voting should be free from big business, or big union, spending, should it not? Especially since United States companies are bankrolling special interest groups that are increasingly vocal about issues in Canada.

As Canadians, can we not make up our own minds? Do we have to access funding from the south to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do in our country? The Fair Elections Act eliminates unpaid loans. For example, a company or union could “loan” a candidate or party money to fight an election, then after the election, forgive the loan. That loophole will be closed.

There are many more aspects of Bill C-23, but do these points really sound unfair? Vancouver Island Newsmedia Group