Update June 2014: The so-called Fair Elections Act was passed into law in June of this year and is expected to be implemented before the next federal election. While the passage of this bill is a setback to our democracy, many of the most dangerous parts of the bill did not make it through the house. Thanks to the grassroots opposition of people across Canada, academics, opposition parties and even Conservative Senators, Pierre Poilievre and the Harper conservatives backed down on the most damaging parts of the bill. The parts of the bill we were able to change are the following:
- Vouching will still be allowed in order to prove address. You still need to have some form of ID that shows your name to vote, but this means much fewer students, retirees and First Nations will be prevented from voting by the new law.
- The fundraising costs loophole will be closed. This measure would have disproportionately benefited the Conservative Party and opened the door to more big-money influence in elections.
- Elections Canada, not local partisans, will appoint poll supervisors.
- Elections Canada will not be muzzled; it can continue to speak freely to the public.
The Leadnow community helped make these changes possible thanks to the hard work of everyone who supported this campaign. Together we
- Collected over 60,000 signatures in a petition to stop the FEA
- Held a national day of action with over 30 events to deliver the petition to MPs across the country
- Sent 11,000 messages to Conservative MPs
- Canvassed the riding of Pierre Poilievre, the Conservative MP who tabled the bill, to build opposition to the bill within his riding
While these changes represent a great victory for the democratic process, there are still some parts of the overall bill that are harmful to our democracy. Currently, the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students are launching a Charter challenge to the bill. If you wish to support this Charter challenge, you can do so at http://canadians.org/election
Why is Prime Minister Harper’s new elections law so dangerous? Why have so many experts from across the political spectrum spoken out, including moderate conservatives? It’s because this law would stack the deck in Harper’s favour for the 2015 election, and fundamentally damage our democracy by denying hundreds of thousands their right to vote.
A Senate Committee just issued a report unanimously recommending changes to the bill, and the Conservatives have said they’re open to making amendments. Yet it’s nowhere near enough, and we need your help to keep turning up the pressure. We have to stop them stacking the deck for the next election!
Can you send an email right now to your MP, and the members of the committee studying this bill, calling on them to fix this bill once and for all, or kill it.
Over the next two weeks we’ll flood key MP’s inboxes with emails, and visit their offices again to show them Canadians are watching and organizing, and they will suffer a steep political cost if they force this terrible bill through as is.
Time is running out: The PROC committee will be voting on amendments to this bill in just two weeks. Tell your MP and the committee to kill Harper’s Elections Act unless voter suppression and financing loopholes are removed, and election fraud investigators get the power to compel testimony.