Electoral showdown: Pierre Poilievre vs. Marc Mayrand

The Democratic Reform Minister shows off his government’s newest bill


Pierre Poilievre

“The fair elections act would keep everyday citizens in charge of democracy by putting special interests on the sidelines and rule-breakers out of the game altogether.” —Pierre Poilievre, the Minister for Democratic Reform

Last year, Elections Canada’s top dog teased a few proposals that would substantially revamp federal elections. John Geddes, Maclean’s Ottawa bureau chief, profiled the chief electoral officer’s hoped-for changes. “Marc Mayrand has big plans to reform the way we run elections,” read a headline. “Will the government listen?” Don’t be surprised to learn the answer might be no, absolutely not.

Yesterday, as Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre previewed the government’s new electoral reform bill, he seemed to suggest he’d consulted Mayrand on the government’s ideas.”We had a terrific and a very long meeting, at which I listened carefully to all of his ideas,” he said. Elections Canada took a different view, denying there’d been a substantive tête-à-tête between the two men.

If Poilievre did listen carefully, and did appreciate Mayrand’s ideas, he certainly didn’t take them to heart. Last October, Geddes outlined Mayrand’s ideas, which “span everything from enhancing Elections Canada’s clout when it comes to uncovering corruption, to imposing new reporting requirements on political parties, to streamlining the way polling stations are run on election days.”

This morning, newspapers widely report that the government’s legislation will, in fact, not beef up Mayrand’s powers. The bill will shift a lot of his investigatory powers to an independent body that will decide which alleged electoral misbehaviour ought to be investigated.

None of this should come as a surprise. The government has clashed with Mayrand time and again since his appointment in 2007. How the government sells the plan to skeptical voters who have robocalls on the mind is the next challenge. Enter Poilievre, the government’s democratic salesman-in-chief. Several months a cabinet minister, he now steps into the spotlight.


Globe: The U.S. and Europe may work to replace Ukraine’s faltering governing regime.

Post: A new elections reform bill will increase the per-voter contribution limit.

Star: Security officials insist they’ve never spied on innocent Canadians at home.

Citizen: Intelligence agencies told the Senate they used airport WiFi to analyze electronic patterns.

CBC: A report into a TransCanada pipeline explosion in Alberta came to light more than four years later.

CTV: Varsity hockey players who suffered concussions also suffered brain damage.

NNW: See the National Post.


Near: The feds hit their quota of parent and grandparent immigration applications in just 33 days.

Far: Seventy-five people died during sectarian violence in a town in the Central African Republic.


Electoral showdown: Pierre Poilievre vs. Marc Mayrand

  1. Our democracy has been under attack for years with the cons. Robocalls, suing elections Canada, electoral fraud, muzzling scientists, surveillance, bald face lying, and the list goes on. Yet, ha ha, here’s a reform. Ha ha. Nothing to see here….but the whittling away of Canadian democracy. So it goes. Democracy dies not with loud protestations, but with applause. And you think this is pierrie poutine vs Mark Mayrand.Not even our journalists take it seriously.

    • Two MPs have been found guilty of ‘robocalls’, The
      Liberal MP for Guelph, and, believe it or not, The NDP’s Paul Dewar, who was
      fined $7,000. Also, in illegal campaign contributions, The NDP has been ordered
      by Election’s Canada to repay $344,000, while The Tories have had to repay
      $240,000. As for The Liberals, remaining to be repaid is $30,000,000.00 in
      sponsorship money.

      • nope you are telling con lies again..

        the two mps were charged under the telecommunications act for not identifying who the caller was.. not robo calls DURING an election ,

        pretending to be EC..as the cons did..
        far cry from the robo calls in the news and the ones you try to point to..

        a wide spread attempt to send voters to the wrong polls as described by the judge , who also said it all points to the Harper o the Harper cons database.., and who also though claiming “complete co-operation in public, fought trench warfare to obstruct delay and hamper these investigations centering around their players in this crime..

        • So the other parties are convicted of making illegal robocalls, and that’s all good in your mind? Meanwhile the Conservatives haven’t been convicted of making illegal robocalls, but you’re sure they’re guilty?

          Cognitive dissonance much?

        • No you are telling Librano/Dipper lies again. I didn’t say anyone was fined by the CRTC, Elections Canada fount them guilty..

  2. Well no doubt the conservative base will love it. Harper has convinced them that EC picks on him as much as the media does.

    Seriously, could this be more of an abuse? The government does not like being investigated so it legislates the investigatory powers away from the body investigating them? (assuming that is what the bill does…)

    As for increasing donation amounts, does this just happen to occur at a time when liberal donors outnumber conservative, but conservative donors donate more per person?

  3. I just cant believe that the MSM and the Canadian public take this guy(poilievre)serious. This guy has the I Q of a green pea. just imagine the corrupt taking care of the corrupt. It dosnt get any better than this.

    • Easy on the gratuitous, drive-by slanders directed at green peas.

  4. So Harper is rigging election rules and cutting the nuts off the electoral officer, so they can cheat more in future elections? This is a very dangerous path this criminal is leading us down. Enough is enough.

  5. Did anyone seriously expect that the Cons would actually improve the legislation? Even if their intentions were good – which they certainly are not – these boobs couldn’t organize a three car parade.

    Not just the lousiest government in the free world, but the stupidest collective of morons ever assembled, anywhere.

  6. Why not simplify things and just make it illegal to vote for anyone except the CPC?

    • Hadn’t you heard? Harper is an incrementalist. He will get there in small steps. Some folks admire the way he slinks towards his goal.

      • I think you mean “sinks towards his goal”. Nothing is below him.

      • As increments go, this sounds like a fairly large one. This must be what they mean by enabling legislation.

  7. Political commentators have begun to really parse their words, and one suspects that many of them now see the writing on the wall: change is in the air. The conservatives win power once a generation, and then get resoundingly dumped…it’s a form of ‘political gravity’ that they can never come to grips with, except for a couple of examples: in Alberta, where any sort of substantive political change is viewed with a mixture of fear and suspicion; and in Ontario, where Bill Davis’ “Big Blue Machine” was completely unassailable because it refused to give in to the worst far right tendencies, won ‘the centre’ and totally dominated it.

    Conservatives need to worry about two things: first, Stephen Harper’s popularity is now into a year-long decline with no end in sight, and without him as the trump card, they’re finished (they don’t call it “The Harper Party” for nothing); and two, some 60% of Canadians now feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction, with economic numbers that are, at charitably best, tepid. Harper has 6 months to decide if he wants to challenge what’s shaping up to be a tsunami of change. “Fair Elections Act” smells of desperation, just another poison pill that lies behind the hype and marketing. You can always spot a government that’s fighting ‘gravity’: they introduce legislation that lends itself more to sound bites and talking points than actual substantive change. It’s over folks…these guys are heading for a pasting.

    • I sooo want you to be right.

      • Here’s hoping that the NDP learned it’s lesson from the election in BC. Being “positive” does not mean not reminding voters of the Government’s record.

  8. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely

  9. Harper is running low on institutions to trash isn’t he? PBO emasculated, check; census buggered up for good, check; environment Canada, which used to be one of the world’s foremost regulatory bodies, turned into a coffee boy for the NEB, check; scientists and researchers reduced to rooting through dumpsters to see if what’s be thrown out is irreplaceable, check…what’s next? Ah the courts Mr Harper said at convention are blocking him. If Nadon gets turned away watch for Harper Reform here too…Tony C would look dashing in ermine dont’cha think?

    • You forgot the Nuclear Safety Board (Linda Keen).

      • I did. It’s tough to keep up.

        • We need a “where are they now?” feature on all those who have been turfed or left due to harper’s hmm, what to call it, micromanaging. I, for one, often wonder about the Dept of Environment kid who was perp-walked out of his temporary job several years ago. I think he was charged with faxing?

          • Is that the guy who was led out in hand cuffs? Didn’t he commit the sin of writing a book without permission from Dad? Or something like that.

  10. I wonder at what point the little brown envelopes will start arriving at the cbc, as they did in the latter point of Brian’s time, before the fall from grace? Surely Harper has begun to amass some considerable enemies within the establishment by now?

    • CBC is probably already on Harper’s “to do (in) list”.

      • If Harper gets another majority can we look forward to seeing Ezra’s name on a very short list to replace Peter within say 5 years?

      • I hope so. Talk about $1B dollars wasted each and every year.

        • Sure…frees up more money to waste on Economic Action Plan propaganda and bogus job training ads.

          • Or you know, healthcare. But who cares about Canada’s failing healthcare system when the government can subsidize a state broadcaster at the tune of $1B/yr.

          • Enough with the “state broadcaster” tripe. Cons and their enablers hate the CBC precisely because it won’t behave (yet) like a handy state organ, a la Pravda.

            If you’re looking for a nice, compliant state-friendly medium willing to do the government’s bidding, look no further than Sun TV.

          • Dude, it’s tiring responding to that predictable garbage from the likes of Rick Omen. I applaud your fortitude.

    • Elections Canada doesn’t do brown envelopes. They stage a “raid” and call media outlets to cover the “raid” live as it happens. But of course, only if it’s Conservative’s involved. If it’s the NDP or the Liberals, they’re given a “warning” and sheltered from any negative media attention.

      • When did EC raid NDP or Liberal offices, with or without “warning”?

        • They haven’t. Because they do everything in their power to protect the NDP and Liberals from having to follow the rules. Do you not find it a little odd that when the Liberals or NDP break election laws they quietly get a fine, or in the case of the Liberals, we’re told the laws are “unenforceable”? But when the CPC does there are cameras waiting and they do everything in their power to get a criminal conviction? I know I certainly do.

          • Aw, c’mon…these guys have been in power for, what, eight years now and you’re still playing the whiny, persecuted, outsider victim card? Puh-leeze.

          • It’s been happening for 8 years. Go look it up.

          • Sorry, do your own research.

          • Can’t link to something you just made up, eh?

      • liar. It’s been reported that EC had nothing to do with a cbc reporter turning up. I wont wait for evidence of your last loopy assertion shall i?

        • Haha. Sure it has been. Link?

          • You first doofus.

          • If you’re going to claim that something has “been reported”, I would expect you to at least attempt to back up such a statement.

            Instead, you call me doofus. You’re very mature for a 10th grader.

          • It is out there. I’m not fetching it for you. You’ll just say its the cbc covering its butt anyway.

          • nope ..like all good con seals you can’t back up your scripted lies and so will accuse others of being too lazy to find / look for
            what you, and the rest of the world outside of Harperville knows, you pulled out of you ass..

          • I’m supposed to spend my afternoon searching for a “report” which may or may not exist? He’s the one who said he’d seen said “report”, all I asked for was a link. And now 2 of you can’t produce said link. So I’m becoming even more sure that it doesn’t exist.


          • Finally lost it eh. Like me to call someone in a white coat for you?

  11. Seriously? The Conservative’s answer is to put another level of red tape on top of the red tape already present at Elections Canada? Let’s recall that they are still investigating cases from 2008, with no conclusion in sight.

    They must be planning some real doozies for the 2015 election if they want to neuter Elections Canada even further. It’s already a relatively toothless agency.

  12. I`m a little surprised at the local liberals here for venting their anger at a relatively minor change in the workings of Election Canada.
    Do away with vouching—seems sensible, but will probably hurt the old Liberal machine in the immigrant community.
    Increase the voluntary individual contribution limit to $1500 which offsets the previous involuntary vote subsidy—–seems democratic to me.
    Clean up some of the vague wording of the Elections Act that led to vague rulings of vague mistakes.—–useful.

    But I think what is really bothering liberals here is the fact that they feel that their friend Maynard is losing some of his absolute power. And that`s unfortunate that a government has to rein in an appointed civil servant by deciding that an independent panel would be better suited to decide which political Party should be investigated for any illegal activities they may have done. But that`s Maynard`s fault. He has been a failure in making non-partisan decisions.
    However, just like the elimination of the vote subsidy, I`m confident that in a few years most liberals here will be thankful to Harper and Poilevre`s contribution to democratic reform.

    • First talking has arrived. Rick Omen is still trying to figure his out.

      • Try to disagree with my points.
        The old —must be a paid talking pointer— game you guys play is getting real boring.
        It probably means you know you`ve lost the argument.

        • Do away with vouching: I’m on board with this one, but I think it’s inestimably minor in terms of the rest of the bill.

          Increasing the voluntary contribution limit is the exact opposite of democratic because it gives more power to those who can afford to donate those amounts, at the expense of those who cannot.

          “Clean up the wording” is the catch-all you use for the rest of it? Including how the government can now campaign all it wants to people who’ve donated in the last five years but not claim it as an elections expense? Or how parties can move funds and services around willy-nilly without regard to riding level expenses so long as they remain under the total expense cap for the nation? Or how current cases under the jurisdiction of the Chief Electoral Officer are going to be moved to their Public Prosecutor, who is also granted immunity from the Access to Information act? That’s a little more than “cleaning up wording”

          Never mind the gag order that’s been applied to the Chief Electoral Officer.

          But there is also some good stuff in relation to this bill.. for instance third party expenses will now count whether or not they take place during the election period if they are made in relation to the election. Also, the clawback put in place if parties go beyond the election expense limit that can make doing so cost them more. Of course, if you’re really flush with cash, this still doesn’t mean much, but it’s a step in the right direction.

      • You’ve really got nothing to add to the conversation, do you?

    • Everyone has a right to vote in Canada, and fraud monitoring at every election shows that fraud is not a problem. Therefore, the current system works, and thus any measures which reduce the ability of Canadians to vote is an infringement of their Charter Right to do so.

  13. Listened to Poilievre on CBC yesterday. “Explaining” things like we’re children. The guy sounds like a semi-moron.

  14. Pingback: QP Live: Welcome to the spotlight, Marc Mayrand! - Macleans.ca