A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
Contact us at democracyunderfire@gmail.com

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fair Elections Act Updated

This week the Liberals introduced a bill to reverse many of the more egregious changes brought in with the Conservative “fair” elections act, the summary of this legislation says......
This enactment amends the Canada Elections Act to
(a) remove limitations on public education and information activities conducted by the Chief Electoral Officer;
(b) establish a Register of Future Electors in which Canadian citizens 14 to 17 years of age may consent to be included;
(c) authorize the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to provide the Chief Electoral Officer with information about permanent residents and foreign nationals for the purpose of updating the Register of Electors;
(d) remove the prohibition on the Chief Electoral Officer authorizing the notice of confirmation of registration (commonly known as a “voter information card”) as identification;
(e) replace, in the context of voter identification, the option of attestation for residence with an option of vouching for identity and residence;
(f) remove two limitations on voting by non-resident electors: the requirement that they have been residing outside Canada for less than five consecutive years, and the requirement that they intend to return to Canada to resume residence in the future; and
(g) relocate the Commissioner of Canada Elections to within the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, and provide that the Commissioner is to be appointed by the Chief Electoral Officer, after consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions, for a non-renewable term of 10 years.

In addition, the enactment contains transitional provisions and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

All in all a positive move that removes some of the voter suppression tactics introduced by the Harper Regime in their “fair” elections act, there should be little objection to this bill but it will be interesting to see how the 'old school' conservative MPs react to it! I will say that whilst I do agree with a citizen being a citizen for life no matter where he or she lives. I do have a few reservations about clause (f).
if a citizen has left Canada and not returned in 5 years and says he or she has no intention of returning then I find it difficult to say that they should be able to influence to future of those that actually live here. I am still a British citizen (AND a Canadian one) after some 45 years in Canada, should I then be able to vote in the Brexit debacle or for a representative for British Parliament.....I dont think so.
The pre-registration of younger voters is a big step forward and the reinstatement of Elections Canada’s mandate to educate and encourage voters is so obviously right that no further comment should be required. The updating of the voters list (and hopefully the resources to do so) is long overdue, an inordinately large portion of the problems at the polls was the discrepancy between the voter list and the reality on the ground, particularly in rural ridings where addressing norms are often far different from urban norms (which the database appears to be set up to accommodate).

These small but important changes will no doubt get totally lost in the discussions that are about to explode about the Electoral Reform Committees report about to be released and which I fear will simply create further division particularly with the call for a referendum which it is rumoured to contain in order to achieve some kind of consensus with the conservative contingent on the committee.

Its going to be interesting to see where this all goes and is, I suspect, a no win situation for the Liberals, but never forget that had they not come to power there would be no debate and we would be heading in the other direction, as it would seem are our neighbours to the south.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Good, the Bad and the Narcissist

Regular readers will be aware of a lack of posts of late and no commentary on the situation south of us and perhaps are asking how a blog about democracy can be silent about the upcoming change in the U.S. Administration. Apart from being driven almost speechless by the American people electing a lying hatemonger as their president there is little more that can be said that has not already appeared in various media across the world. All I am going to say on the subject is that we know it is going to be bad but with Drumph appointing like minded arseholes, racists, misogynists, climate sceptics, brain dead, right wing extremists to positions of power it is looking worse each day......
That his accession to power seems to have emboldened such sick individuals across the world, including in Canada, to spread their hate and intolerance shows just how dangerous it is to give such narcissist access to almost unlimited coverage in the press, on TV and on the internet. It took a certain dictator several years to “seize power” over a democracy in the 1930s, with modern communications it has taken Drumph just 6 months to gather a cult like following.

Here in Canada I am VERY thankful that we no longer have a right wing government here for who knows what the rise of such an extremist across the border would have encouraged the Harper Regime to do. We cannot however ignore the effect that events to the south will have upon us here both in the practical sense of trade and environmental concerns but also in the thinking of those who agree with his stated policies. Whilst there is no doubt room for some criticism of the Liberals now in power I for one am a LOT more comfortable with the general direction and tone of our current government. This brings me to the latest road block that appears to being erected to their promise of a new electoral system being in place before we next vote again. It appears that in 'seeking consensus' the Electoral Committee may include the conservative members demand for a referendum in their report, remember the report is just a 'recommendation' to the government and it has been fairly firmly established that such cannot be accomplished in time to have a new system in place before October 2019. As with several other issues that are awaiting decisions the Libs are damned if they do and damned if they don’t on this one and have some very hard and possibly controversial decisions to make in the next year, all the consultations in the world do not make such decisions any easier.

When the new U.S. President makes our previous Prime Minister look good then its easy to feel really good about our current Prime Minister!

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