Now the Conservatives support expanding the chief electoral officer’s powers?

by Aaron Wherry

The NDP has tabled the following motion for debate tomorrow.

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should, within six months, table amendments to the Elections Canada Act and other legislation as required that would ensure that in all future election campaigns: (a) Elections Canada investigation capabilities be strengthened, to include giving the Chief Electoral Officer the power to request all necessary documents from political parties to ensure compliance with the Elections Act; (b) all telecommunication companies that provide voter contact services during a general election must register with Elections Canada; and (c) all clients of telecommunication companies during a general election have their identity registered and verified.

Asked by Nycole Turmel about it this afternoon, the Prime Minister seemed to indicate the government side supported this motion (Mr. Harper’s spokesman seems to concur). Conservatives on the Procedure and House Affairs Committee previously voted to reject a proposal from the Chief Electoral Officer.

Now the Conservatives support expanding the chief electoral officer’s powers?

  1. But not retroactive to past elections I am betting

  2. Govt-by-roulette-wheel.

    Round and round and round she goes, and where she stops….nobody knows.

  3. One can feel the disappointment dripping from the headline of this blog post, that instead of revelling in the fact of Harper being seen as not cooperating with the latest Robocall matter (had he not agreed with the NDP motion), one is left with scraping some notion of inconsistent positions in the all-too-familiar manner of ignoring the context of those positions.

    • Good grief, you even talk like a roulette wheel!

      • Come on, OE1, that’s patently unfair – to roulette wheels.  At least they always come to a clear, definitive conclusion.

        • Heh…well that’s true. Chester’s son is always happy where he ends up, but no one else knows where that is!

    • Cripes. Anyone with logic this convoluted might just be capable of voting for Harper.

  4. Another first for Pat Martin…. using smart and member from Peterborough in the same sentence.

  5. Given who gets to the appoint the Chief Electoral Officer for the next election, is anybody surprised?

    Personally, I’m surprised that the NDP is willing to hamstring themselves in this way.  Or maybe they’re just confident enough in their organizational abilities that they figure they’ll be able to prodcue the documents inevitably requested by a conservative Chief Electoral Officer.

      • Which in a majority government means….

        • Answers to the HOC not the PM

          • Stop moving the goalposts. Appointed by. Not answers to (not that it matters in Harper’s majority government).

            Appointed by Parliament means by a majority vote of the members of parliament which means, in this parliament, by the CPC.  Go play semantics with someone who cares about that kind of crap.

          • Lighten up Thwim….nobody is moving goalposts.

            I gave you the Wiki url.

          • And the Wiki pulled it directly from the Elections Canada site. Big deal, it’s still semantic crap when the reality is the CPC (aka Harper) is the one who decides what “Parliament” will decide on this issue, ergo, is the one who decides who the Chief Electoral Officer will be.

          • Face it, Emily.  You’re a conbot now for disagreeing with Thwim.

          • Face it Orson, you’re just an ass who’s incapable of dealing with what people actually say, so tries to put words in their mouths instead.

          • Well if the Cons want to appoint their own man ,,,unilingual perhaps?….to an independent body that answers to the HOC, I wish them luck.  LOL

  6. “(c) all clients of telecommunication companies during a general election have their identity registered and verified.”

    I think I and 90% of the population would be “clients of telecommunication companies during a general election”.  Cue the dormant C-30 outrage.

    • Yeah; I think they left out “requesting voter contact services”. At least, I sure hope so!

  7. Of course new powers will be academic if the Finance Minister cuts their budget along with everyone else’s.

    • That’s why we need to get a progressive government in power – so nobody will ever have their budget cut, for any reason whatsoever.  Budgets should only be raised, never lowered.

      Stop Harper!

      • Is that what ‘progressive’ means?  That’s not how the dictionary defines it. 

        • progressive of course, means anything that you want it to given the range of the moment faux outrage.

  8. Oh C’mon! I can’t be the only cynic in this place?

    Of course the Conservatives will support this motion, they will even live up to it, in part. And that part is all the words up to and including the first colon.You can bet your ass that Harper will be making changes to the powers and role of the Election Commissioner. For reference, ask the Parliamentary Budget Officer and The Privacy Commissioner about their “expanded” roles under the Harper government.

     

    • No, you’re not the only cynic.  The motion itself would seem to ensure little and actually seems like a gift to the CPC, but I suppose for the NDP it is in the discussion surrounding the motion and what points they get to make.  It does give the NDP some focussed time to discuss election fraud. Not sure why they could not have done that with a motion which attempted to address possible current fraud though.

  9. From the media reports it seems that Elections Canada was asking for increased powers now, while the NDP motion is to something for the next election, but would not allow EC to demand receipts before then.  If that is the case, it is clear why the NDP proposal is fine with the CPC while the EC proposal was not — especially if they have anything to hide from this past election. In fact, I’m sure the CPC is happy about the optics of supporting the NDP proposal.  Whatever new procedures are in place for next time (if they are, as this is non binding) they likely think they can “work” with them as they’ve been “working” with the current procedures.

    • Agreed. The NDP seem to be pitching the CPC a nice fat opportunity for positive PR puffery without actually accomplishing anything. Makes one wonder how carefully they thought this through…

      • Yes, no matter what the Conservatives do on any issue, no matter what position they take, it’s proof that they’re evil.  EVIL, I tell you!

        • Glad to see you’re coming to your senses!

          Seriously, if the NDP’s goal is to try to force the CPC’s hand on the current electoral shenanigans, giving the CPC a chance to pledge future changes without committing to a proper investigation of the robocalls etc this time around gives them an opportunity to look like they are doing something, while accomplishing nothing in the way of resolving the current issue. Great politics for the CPC; not so great for the NDP.

          As for the scandal itself, I’m on record on other threads as saying that (a) while I’m pretty sure there is CPC involvement in Guelph at minimum, I’m willing to wait until all the evidence is in before judging the party as a whole as it may be the work of a handful of rogue members; and (b) the opposition parties aren’t doing themselves any favours by trying to throw every crank call into the mix and use every half-baked claim as proof of a massive conspiracy. They are in danger of setting themselves up for a “cry wolf” scenario. I don’t like the CPC for a lot of reasons, and their infantile behaviour make them hard to respect, but I try to judge issues on their own merits (despite my sometimes snarky comments).

          That said, the CPC certainly aren’t doing themselves any favours with their refusal to release information or answer questions in the HoC. It’s all-too-typical CPC bluster and obsfucation at a time where, if innocent, clarity and seriousness of purpose would be the best route to making the story a non-issue. Their own behaviour makes them look guilty (though it’s typical of their lack of respect for the House and so I’m trying not to read too much into it as far as determination of guilt).

          • My one thought on how this might not be just stupidity on part of the NDP.. get the CPC to support a change for next year, then turn around and ask, “So what’s wrong with doing it this time?”

          • Good post, Keith.  Very well put.

            Thing is, if anybody actually fingers or implicates anyone in an official/authoritative capacity in the CPC directing any of this, then the CPC is in serious doodoo.

            I still can’t get over how ANYONE in the CPC could be so stupid as to think they’d get away with this stuff.  On the other hand, people I know who work in the criminal justice system are always telling me about how the amazing thing about so many criminals is how bloody stupid they are.

  10. Well, they might support the motion. They might not.
    A motion is not legislation.

  11. I hope Canadians dont accept this in lieu of a judicial inquiry into who was interfering in our democratic process!

    • If you can muddy the waters enough to make them think all the parties were victimized it just might? The dippers may have just foolishly have given Harper a get out of jail until 2015 card.

  12. That sure looks like a rookie mistake by the ndp. Harper’s beginning to look like he might be stuck out on a fifth storey ledge and you toss him a lifeline. Does anyone believe his party will pull this one again without first prepping a little better? He does get to pick the new chief of EC after all; talk about locking the stable door when the nag has bolted! The new powers are needed now.

    • It is a puzzling move, but not sure one can attribute it to rookies.  Maybe the discussion surrounding this motion will make the motivation clearer.  

      • Okay. But I’ve yet to see any meaningful discussion anywhere.

  13. This excerpt from a Globe and Mail article says it all:

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday he’s “not opposed at all” to an NDP motion calling for Elections Canada to be granted more investigative power. His officials said the Conservatives would back the resolution, to be debated Thursday, but refused to say whether the government would comply with it.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *