Conservative MPs took several shots Monday at Elections Canada as the House of Commons moved the government’s controversial election reform bill closer to law. The Conservative majority in the House passed Bill C-23 through second reading after a 152-128 vote. A committee of MPs will study it before it returns for final debate. Opposition parties argue the 242-page bill tilts election rules in favour of the Conservatives and muzzles the chief electoral officer. The government says its bill will prevent fraud and lead to stronger enforcement of election violations. During hours of debate Monday, Conservative MPs depicted Elections Canada as biased against them. “Elections Canada lets the Liberals off and threatens to put my volunteers in prison,” said Cambridge-North Dumfries MP Gary Goodyear.
He alleged Elections Canada threatened to throw one of his campaign volunteers in jail for opening a campaign bank account two days early, while it ignored illegal donations to Liberal candidates.
Cheryl Gallant, MP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, said appointees of former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien “may still be corrupting the system.”
The election reform bill sharply curtails the powers of Elections Canada and the chief electoral officer.
The body would no longer be able to launch investigations into election fraud. It would also be banned from advertising or talking about elections outside of where, when and how to vote.
Full Article: Elections Canada under fire | The Chronicle Herald.