The sketch: Poilievre holds the future of our democracy in his hands

The Fair Elections Act is defended

Pierre Poilievre. (Adrian Wyld, The Canadian Press)

Pierre Poilievre. (Adrian Wyld, The Canadian Press)

So it is that Pierre Poilievre, the precocious obfuscator, the baby-faced irritant, the talented politician who was elected at the age of 24 and who was previously referred to on occasion by his pal John Baird as “Skippy” and who would come to possess some power and prominence, now holds in his hands the future of Canadian democracy.

Or at least so it is that the 34-year-old, newish minister of democratic reform bears on his shoulders the weight of a 247-page bill that is merely intended to fiddle variously and widely with the formal procedures of our federal democracy. Be it his to defend and protect and somehow carry to Royal Assent without embarrassing the government.

It was actually his to defend before he had even tabled it this morning; as it was yesterday that Mr. Poilievre was asked to explain why he had not consulted with the chief electoral officer on the bill he was set to table.

“Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the member wants to ask questions based on facts that are not true,” he had lamented of the NDP’s Nycole Turmel. “The truth is that I had an excellent meeting with the CEO of Elections Canada, and I read his reports thoroughly before we drafted the bill that will be introduced.”

You see, Mr. Poilievre and Marc Mayrand did meet last August. And it would seem that then there was some exchange of generally applicable information. And so it is that it could be said to be true both that Mr. Poilievre consulted Mr. Mayrand and that Mr. Poilievre did not consult Mr. Mayrand on the contents of the bill.

It was on this relatively minor point that the pursuit of Mr. Poilievre began again this afternoon.

“Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of State for Democratic Reform claimed he had consulted the Chief Electoral Officer. The problem is, Elections Canada said he did not,” the NDP’s Craig Scott reported. “Today, the minister smeared Elections Canada saying: ‘They should not be wearing a team jersey.’ Does the minister really think that misleading the House one day and smearing Elections Canada the next is a really good way to start discussions on amending our elections law?”

Mr. Poilievre was apparently ready for something like this.

“Mr. Speaker, certainly the wrong way to start discussions is to do what the member did which is to walk out and announce his opposition to a bill that he admitted that he had not even read,” replied the minister who convened a news conference about his bill this morning without first providing reporters an opportunity to review said bill.

The Conservatives laughed.

“As for consultations, I did meet with the Chief Electoral Officer on August 22, for about an hour, listened carefully to all of his thoughts until he had nothing more to add. I told him if he thought of anything he could call me at any time. I have since read his reports, studied his testimony before committee and implemented 38 of his recommendations in the Fair Elections Act,” Mr. Poilievre review. “This act would improve elections in this country and make sure our democracy rests in the hands of the people.”

Various Conservatives stood to cheer, each of them having apparently had time in the previous four hours to carefully and individually review each of the bill’s hundreds of clauses and find it to their personal liking.

Mr. Scott attempted to stick with his preferred narrative.

“Mr. Speaker, it is clear to all that the minister actually is off to a really rough start,” he said.

The Conservatives laughed.

“My bill on fighting electoral fraud proposed fines of up to $500,000,” Mr. Scott continued. “The Chief Electoral Officer proposed up to $250,000. The government’s bill limits fines to just $50,000, 10 times less than the NDP proposal. So why has the government failed to provide tough punishments for people who commit serious election fraud?”

Mr. Poilievre was apparently ready for this too.

“Mr. Speaker, I do not know why the member is trumpeting his plan to impose just monetary fines. In fact, the Fair Elections Act would impose prison time for election fraud, which goes much further,” he responded. (The amendments here are difficult to follow, but one category of offences has had its maximum punishment increased from three months to six months and various new offences have been created.)

This was followed by some attempt at poetry, or at least animal imagery. “We will ensure that the election watchdog, the commissioner, has sharper teeth, a longer reach and a freer hand,” the minister mused.

The next two questions—Would the measures on voter identification violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? And why would Elections Canada be limited in its advertising?—were less easily dismissed. And then the official opposition sent up furious David Christopherson to vent furiously at the government side.

“Mr. Speaker, from in-and-out to robocalls, Canadians do not trust the Conservative government, and for good reason,” Mr. Christopherson ventured, wagging his finger. “For example, on March 12, 2012, every member of the House, including the Conservative government, voted unanimously in favour of the NDP motion to give Elections Canada the power to compel witnesses and the power to demand financial documents. The new bill would not provide these powers. Why did the government break its promise to Canadians?”

The mustachioed New Democrat from Hamilton more or less growled this question. But Mr. Poilievre was ready for this too.

“Mr. Speaker,” he replied, “the member should have started by reading the motion that he voted for and that he trumpets on the floor of the House of Commons today. What it actually says is that the government should give the power to Elections Canada to request documents from political parties. Elections Canada has that power and the Fair Elections Act would maintain it.”


A short while later, in response to a series of words that Liberal MP Scott Simms attempted to punctuate with a question mark, Mr. Poilievre would aim again for poetry. The author of the Battle Hymn of Peter Penashue would appeal once more to greatness.

“In this country we have many cultures, many peoples, all of whom celebrate one thing in common, that is democracy,” he proclaimed, pumping his fists and gesturing assuredly. “Fair elections deliver democracy and this legislation would continue that practice in this country.”

He who was once assigned to dismiss concerns about the Conservative party’s in-and-out arrangements, now assigned to carry the highest principle. Possibly, depending on one’s view of those in-and-out transfers (at the very least it would seem to have involved exploiting a loophole), this suggests that God (or Stephen Harper) appreciates irony. Possibly it merely suggests that Mr. Poilievre is well-suited for this sort of thing.

But on something like these ideas of democracy and fairness, it would be another individual well-schooled in this stuff who would shortly thereafter set something of a trap for Mr. Poilievre.

“There’s a way for the Conservatives to try to convince Canadians and the other Members of Parliament that they’re not trying to load the dice in their own favour,” Thomas Mulcair told the traditional gathering of reporters in the foyer, “and that’s if Stephen Harper respects the right of Parliament to have a full and complete debate on this issue. If Stephen Harper uses closure to try to get this new electoral bill faster through the House of Commons when Marc Mayrand says it’s not required before the end of June*, we’ll all know that our worst fears about what this bill is actually about are there, that the Conservatives are actually once again trying to load the dice in their own favour.”

Let the great fairness debate of 2014 begin.


*To support this, the New Democrats point to Mr. Mayrand’s reference to “spring 2014” here and here.


The sketch: Poilievre holds the future of our democracy in his hands

  1. One can only smile sadly at the profound irony of placing any power to further diminish the quality of Canadian democracy in the hands of such a demonstrably undemocratic government, especially when spear-headed by this nasty, perennially-partisan little blue-suited rodent.

    • Thank you for your thoroughly objective, non-partisan observation.

      • Was that a requirement for posting a comment? Where does it say that?

      • Are you suggesting that anyone who is partisan should not be heeded?
        If so, please do not let the door hit you on your way out.

      • An observation from a thoroughly non-objective Conservative minion. The Con motto: “I believe in personal responsibility, just as long as it’s the other guy…”

        • That’s right up there with their “It’s only wrong when the other guy does it.”

        • Hey Ron, I voted Liberal last election. So your comment is false and idiotic. Congratulations.

    • One can get a fairly good picture at the type readership, or at least the type of commenters on this site, when a base smear, describing a conservative as a “nasty” “rodent” is applauded with 32 upticks.

      I am glad to say that I am viewed as an unwanted outsider – or a “troll” by the inhabitants of this site.
      Macleans must be so proud of its regulars (merrily supporting the vile herein).
      We conservatives have so much to learn from our bettors in the “tolerant progressive left.”

      • Make that 33

      • Hi Biff!

        How many conservative posters on this site refer to Justin Trudeau as “Junior”, the dauhine”, “Justine” or accuse people like me for supporting him because he is “dreamy” or for his hair.

        Oh I know, I know. When conservatives do it, it is OK. Because it is probably the media’s fault. Or Elections Canada.

        PS – you are not viewed as an “unwanted outsider”. You have been exposed, again and again and again, as a liar.

        • One specific example of a “lie”. A factual statement stated when it was known to be untrue.
          It should be easy for you. Let the world know how much of a “liar” I am (or conversely whether you are one to hurl base accusations for the purpose of smearing).
          We’ll await the example.

          • So by “lie” you mean: “shut up you are expressing a viewpoint I disagree with”. Got it.
            Actually, “Biff” or “Troll” and virtually every other utterance that you give – sweeping in moments after each of my comments – seems to translate into the same thing.
            Many have commented on the left’s authoritarian leanings and the many ways in which they seek to shut out debate through delititimizing other’s views.
            You are truly a member of the “tolerant progressive left.” Of course, I will not dignify you with a further direct response, but rather will leave you to wallow in your own smears.

          • No, by lie I mean you claimed the liberals quoted in the article said something they did not say, and was not in the article.

            It is pretty easy.

          • It was a rhetorical question, drawing a conclusion one could easily reach by the tenor of the article. There’s a difference between rhetoric, arguments, conclusions to be drawn from facts, and positively stating facts.
            Indeed it appears common that mere disagreements about what conclusions or arguments can be drawn from a set of facts, can not be legitimate disagreements at all. They are “lies”. To the progressive, conservatives have no legitimacy, they only spew “lies”.
            I encourage folks to make note of the frequent smear of “lies” in such circumstances.
            More of our “tolerant progressive left”.

          • No, it wasn’t. You pretended people said something they simply did not say, and then attacked them for it. If it were otherwise, the honest thing to do was to say something like “from the tenor of the article, it is easy to conclude that…”

      • Check out the commenters at the National Post…too late to try and take the high road, chum. The moment Trudeau was elected leader there was a deluge of derogatory insults. And you can hardly describe the Harper Party as the types to reach across the aisle to get legislation done, or compromise with the provinces…Harper has to meet with them first!

        • So the other guys do it, so it’s ok for you to do it. Got it.

      • Make that 50.

      • If you’d read the Bill thoroughly, you might condone harsher descriptors for Poilievre.

    • Just a note:
      There are a few liberals on this site that I have respect for their opinion.One of them was LKO. Not any more.
      Listen , when i see that he has gone to the trouble of thumbing up a hateful personal, nothing to do with the Bill, remark that Cdubbaya made then I just lump him in with the likes of Gayle, kcm, emily etc.
      Not worth listening to.

      • Ya, LKO seems to be losing it of late. It seems the easiest way to get a whole bunch of up-votes is to just insult for being conservative. Something like “You conservative scum deserve to die” will be rewarded by 100 upvotes by these trolls.

    • Nasty Rodent, huh? I’d say he’s more sub-human than a rodent. Maybe he’s more like a dung beetle. My goodness, it’s refreshing to think like a Liberal. Maybe with enough stupid nicknames for members of the government the Liberals could win an election. I really look forward to Trudeau doing nothing but name calling in the debates. It will make him look very intelligent.

      • Aaah, but the hate spewed by progressive posters is virtuous, progressive hate. So it’s good hate. Perhaps under a new progressive government, we can broadcast our daily 5 minutes’ hate every day on TV to the masses, showing them pictures of Harper etc.

  2. To copy Mr. Wherry`s phrase; Mr Poilievre has apparently authored a very useful Bill.

    Look, I know Pierre can be a bit of a pain in the a$$, he is way too partisan sometimes, he doesn`t seem to mind being heckled, probably enjoys the Skippy moniker, and sometimes speaks in that annoying low monotone when answering a high pitched excitable query. But there doesn`t seem to be much wrong with this Bill. If anything it will probably mean candidates and their workers will be much more vigilant in staying within the rules. Mayrand will also be more careful with his work now that he has a little help with deciding which Party to investigate as far as In and Out etc.
    I suspect the biggest problem most liberals have is Poilievre himself. Hold your nose and vote for the Bill.

    • The problem most supporters of democracy have with this bill is that it targets the poor and vulnerable while ignoring the party hierarchy and the wealthy who will gain from the tax benefit that donations receive. The party bagmen are being rewarded and any investigating power that EC had will now be under the control of a Minister via the DPP. Couple that with the rush to force this bill through and it is only too apparent that this bill seeks to make once illegal acts legal and it is the CPoC that will benefit; firstly from extended tax relieved donation limits and then from less scrutiny and accountability.
      The fact that the oily tick Pollievre is announcing it, shows that the disdain Harper has for any semblance of democracy is on a par with any respect he showed veterans, by appointing the prat Fantino to that office.

    • By giving this bill credibility, your giving Skippy credibility. And your also giving a corrupt government credibility. The same attack dog and party that went after the opposition parties, defending the corruption in its own party. The same partisan hack that said Nigel Wright was a man of honor and Canadian taxpayers should be proud of him for being so honest and forth right. You think this guy(poilievre) came up with this idea(Scripted right out of the PMO) ? The funny thing about this bill is, its reminding Canadians again about the robocall scandal. Where are no longer talking about the senate scandal, now its the robocall scandal. The scandal a day government. Poilievre is nothing more than an extension of Steve Harpers nose.

      • Yeah, I think I might be right about you guys opposing just about anything that Harper or Poilievre authored, even if it is sensible and solid legislation.
        That`s ok for you guys. but Mulcair and Trudeau have to be real careful about whipping their caucus in voting against this Bill.
        That bit about the Bill being designed for continued Conservative self-interest may work for excitable liberals but, when it becomes real obvious that this Bill will improve Election fairness, the folks who decide Elections may once again find liberals too excitable, too hysterical, to govern.

        • The problem is my friend, these same guys you talk about, are the same crowd that created most of these problems. We wouldnt even be taking about this today, if wasn’t for the corruption that’s taking place in the PMO. I’m sorry your comment is useless. Its all about smokescreens with this government(The Harper Government)(if you wanna be named master of the ship, than you should be a man not a boy when the ship starts to sink). The only time they(cons) enforce laws is when they break them.

        • If it is so good, why the rush? They are clearly trying to avoid discussion of the bill – which right away makes anyone who isn’t a CPC devotee think they are trying to pull a fast one.

          From the little I’ve gleaned so far, there are some good things – and some less good. If the CPC is convinced it is a good bill, then be proud and willing to discuss / defend.

          Does no one in the party have any clue anymore as to the optics of their actions?

        • And we might be right about you, supporting anything because your team proposed it. Election law is not just about the next election it’s about all elections. Just as Charter rights are not just about my rights, but rather about everyone’s rights. The G20 cop who gleefully ignored everyone’s Charter rights would be aghast if they were not given the rights that they denied others for expediency’s sake; so it would go with the extreme rightwingers who form the current government if these election laws were used against them. A DPP under an NDP government might selectively decide to ignore some reports because the oversight has been narrowed to the responsibility of one minister.

          I’m not excitable, I’m concerned for the fairness and transparency of the process in the future and given Harper’s track record of being open and honest in the past I have every right to be concerned. Given Pollievre’s actions in covering for his boss in the past I’m using his track record to weigh his intentions in this case. It doesn’t bode well for openness and transparency.
          In future when you find yourself on the receiving end of the system set in place by this legislation I hope you have the honesty to remember your cheer-leading on this issue.

  3. The fact that the perennially sneering, attack-trained frontman of this political party is championing this bill should make all of us want give it a very careful reading.

    • I almost want to give the Cons credit for not slipping this in a phone-book-sized omnibus bill in the upcoming Spring budget…

      • Doing it this way avoids debate, that’s why.

  4. To be clear on this…minister for Democracy throws EC under the bus, says EC is wearing opposition team jersey. Minister of Democracy then designs bill that ignores many of the recommendations of EC CEO, them proceeds to strip said CEO of independent powers of investigation. Minister claims to have.consulted with CEO even though CEO claims not.
    Result. We”re down the rabbit hole. We’re asked to believe this minister has designed a Fair Elections Act. It’s like this Harper govt is reenacting all the worst bits of Animal Farm before our eyes. No prizes for guessing who’s Skippy[squealer] the little pig who dances for you all ways while assuring you Napoleon really has your best interests at heart.

    Earth to minister. If your effing govt had behaved itself in the first place we wouldn’t be going through this ridiculous charade. SH isn’t fixing something after the fact, he’s rubbing our faces in the mess that he largely triggered. So minister Poilivere please spare us the smarmy little sanctimonious lectures and try to remember you are representing your country here, not just your slimy party.

    • Forget Skippy; let’s just start calling him Squealer.

      Which of the Seven Commandments is being rewritten this time?

      • That was the name. PP even looks like someone who i imagine a character like squealer ought to look like.

      • …or his real alias ‘pierre poutine’……..

      • Or why not just start calling him Slimy? And why stop there? It’s obviously good politics to come up with idiotic derogatory nicknames for all Conservatives, because they’re obviously all scum who actively try to damage Canada.

        • It was a literary reference, Dick. kcm2 was referencing Animal Farm, and comparing Poilievre to Napoleon’s [head animal of Animal Farm] chief apologist / propagandist, whose name was Squealer. I figured if kcm2 was to use Animal Farm as a metaphor for the Harper government, then Squealer would be a better name than Skippy, as it would extend the metaphor.

          Though if we abandon the metaphor, I agree – Slimy would do just fine.

          Meantime, if Harper needs a name for his band, he may want to consider Napoleon & the Squealers. Has a nice ring to it & makes him sound all literary and sh!t.

    • Let`s be real clear on this…..there would be no need to rein in EC if they had acted in any degree of fairness over the past 20 years in regards to investigations of perceived wrongdoing by political parties. But they chose to bust into only Conservative offices to find out if there was any In and Out going on when everyone knew the same practice was happening with all political parties for years. EC chose to ignore illegal union funding of the NDP. And as John has pointed out to ” Your Slowness ” EC closed it`s eyes completely to Liberal shenanigans with Adscam in Quebec both during and after that scandal.

      So don`t blame Harper for this Bill. Don`t blame Poilievre. Blame Mayrand. Blame Elections Canada. They chose to incompetently be unfair in their job. I don`t care if they all vote Liberal themselves. but act professionally and responsible in your job, and if not, I expect my elected representatives to fix the problem. If it`s too difficult to fire them, then make the necessary changes to make sure we have impartial people making the right decisions.

      • Sigh

        If you have read John’s comments on another thread regarding Adscam, then you are also aware that his point was rebutted by the facts. As in, Elections Canada had no authority to do anything about Adscam as the statute of imitations had expired. Why, it is almost as though you are deliberately lying here.

        But hey, don’t allow a few inconvenient facts dissuade you from your little rant about how mean and nasty EC has been to your guys. As per the usual conservative playbook – the conservatives can do no wrong. When they are caught red handed doing something wrong, you just say it is the fault of the guy who caught him, because that guys is picking on them.

        Sheesh – you guys are like 8 year olds in the school yard. It is like “debating” with Bart Simpson. The shocking thing is that you cannot even see how totally asinine and hypocritical your argument is.

        • So, let me get this straight:
          You justify EC not investigating or charging Liberals with fraud on the Adscam file because since they did nothing on it for years, and chose to turn a blind eye to Liberal corruption, then they are excused because the statute of limitations had expired.
          And you accuse me of being asinine !
          Charles is right—You are an idiot.

          • Clearly you have no idea what the phrases “Let`s be real clear on this” and “So, let me get this straight” mean, as you fail to address the actual points she makes.
            Is it Jayne’s fault that EC didn’t act within the legal time limit?
            Is it Jayne’s fault that other processes were under way that meant that EC couldn’t act within the time limit?

            So let me be real clear on this and get it straight:

            Your whining is just like the speeder who gets stopped and ticketed by the cops and then complains that they weren’t the only ones speeding and haven’t they got any real criminals to catch.
            The Harper Cons admitted committing Election Fraud and paid a fine, so they were guilty and Mayrand and EC did his job. Mayrand was prevented form doing his job over Adscam because of due process reasons. I know the Reformers think the law only applies to others and never to them but they like you are wrong.

          • No—- a more accurate analogy would be me getting stopped by the cops for doing 10 K over the limit by a cop who just observed a bunch of other drunken drivers run over a school bus of kids and kitties, then back up and run over them again——-and you and Gayle and kcm are willing to excuse the cop for not apprehending the drunks because he`s waiting for the tow trucks to show up.
            You guys are either obtuse or stupid.
            I give up——going back to sarcasm.

          • Either analogy, you still broke the law and tried the “but others did it too” whine. Or does the fact that others did it mean that you didn’t?

          • What evidence existed of offences under the Canada Elections Act prior to the Gomery Inquiry in 2004/5. That was the evidence John relied on. Do you have something new to add?

            According to John, evidence of electoral fraud came to light during the testimony given at the Inquiry. Until that evidence was given there was no way for EC to know that, as part of the other frauds committed during Sponsorship, there may have been violations of the Elections Act. Their mandate is to deal with violations of the EA, not the criminal fraud upon which the bulk of the sponsorship scandal was based.

      • Conjecture is all you got on this one. John proved nothing, neither can you.
        Once again with the circular argument – The premise is that EC is bad, a fact so ergo the rest must follow – You conbots really do need to brush up on basic logic if you want to make such a bold case for reigning in an arm of Parliament.
        Meanwhile the provisions of this bill that most need to be watched are getting a pass by the media. Just why do the Tories want to exempt fundraising expenses[ and greatly boost allowable contribution from certain quarters] Could it be they have oodles and oodles of idle money they want to get into the game? Could it be they still lead by a wide margin in this field? Could it be that every dollar saved on fundraising can now go toward attack ads and other less salubrious activities? Could it be that tracking how much money is funneled into the new write off will be very difficult to track? Could it be this is all about doing an end run on the overall financing cap? Such a pity they didn’t look after the tp’s interest by lowering the tax credit write offs as they upped the donor cap. Yes, you Cons are all about the Democracy and fair elections at bottom!But then you always were.

      • Marc Mayrand was appointed by Harper. It strikes me as highly unlikely that Harper would appoint someone with a distinctly anti-Conservative leaning.

        Methinks you’re (a) paranoid; (b) unwilling to accept that your party can do any wrong.

    • Doublegooddoubleplus duckspeak is the root cause of this minion of Democratic reform . Orwell wrote fiction , li’l steve and squealer practice it ! Doublespeak and enemies lists is the con way !

  5. “Sign it. . . You can read it later.” (Subtext: you might as well since neither parliament nor the senate have any input to legislative matters – their opinions whipped from the PMO.)

  6. At some point Mayrand will say something . It’s unlikely it will be anything controversial . But he should follow Kevin Page’s example and state his case. They’ve pretty much gagged him and tied one hand behind his back…what’s he got left to lose. A generation ago someone in his compromised position would simply resign. Maybe he ought to consider it.

    • When the mangy coyotes attack the flock the wounded border collie bristles, barks – does all it can to protect that flock. It doesn’t put tail ‘tween legs and sneak. (Sneaking is what coyotes – and apparently conservatives – do).

  7. The Harper Government consulted with Elections Canada about as much as Hirohito did the American Pacific fleet.

    To the same extent, and with the same intent.

    Perhaps now our electorate (especially the conservative among us) will, at last, realize that a force that treats as enemies our public institutions – from our sacred documents down to the acts, agencies, & regulations that defend and serve them – that said force is, by definition, an enemy of the state and of its people.

    Perhaps on election day 2015 we should man our polling stations foreign observers –
    in case of ‘irregularities’.

    Just saying.

    • Stalin: It isn’t the voters who count, it’s who counts the votes…

  8. Gee .. if we only had, somehow somewhere, an institution that
    could review legislation with thought .. sober and second, like, eh ?
    Wouldn’t that be nice ?

    • If only the conservative senate caucus would take back the independent status that is their right and relevance. If only those conservative senators would take back their dignity and right to independent opinion. Liberal senators so recently freed and redefined as ‘small L only’ should inspire their Conservative peers to assert their right & responsibility to independent sober thought & action. This is an unique opportunity for those senators to remake themselves in fact & image.

      My money’s on the blue team dithering and blowing their big chance.

    • The real debate over legislation happens in the democratic House of Commons: in Question Period and before all-party committees. Surprisingly, Harper didn’t bundle this up in a phone-book-sized omnibus bill and the real democratic process will actually take place. (Except for the absurdity that Harper represents a minority of voters and has unfettered power. If Canada was an actual democracy, the bill would be voted down. But that’s too radical for Canadians, not to mention John A MacDonald who wanted an upper house of aristocracy to keep a lid on democracy, which he labeled “second sober thought”…)

  9. This guys is just plain odious!

  10. In order for the Harper Cons to stay technically legal they have to keep moving the line. Being morally reprehensible doesn’t seem to bother them much though. In fact they wallow in it.

    • It’s exactly the same style as the Mafia: “Hey, it’s not personal, it’s strictly business”, or in this case ‘politics’. It’s amazing how far our politics has strayed from what we tell our children is “acceptable behaviour” and how easily we let them sweep away any qualms about acting this way. Today’s Business and Politics share this same lack of ethics….we simply don’t need more ‘ethics laws’; what we need is more ethical people. The Senate doesn’t need ‘better laws’ but rather better Senators, and I think that’s hopefully where Trudeau is heading. Poilievre is introducing this Act to look relevant because, instead of showing leadership through action, a government can only look busy by passing yet more legislation. Trudeau has dropped the gauntlet by saying ‘reform is easy…just do it’ and actually shed some of his power…Harper can’t match that because his whole career (life) has been the pursuit of power. So he sends out a boy (Poilievre) to do a man’s job, when the power is in his hands, and his alone, to ‘just do it’.

      • Was interesting to hear Nolin, a CPC senator, plead with the others yesterday to take steps to become less-partisan. If harper would follow Trudeau’s lead, and he never will, the senate would be a better place, and Canadians would be better-served. Moreover, to me the biggest thing in this is Trudeau knowingly giving up future power. The very power that has Harper down in the depths of corruption and lies, and yet he will continue to cling to that power. It makes me admire Trudeau all the more.

        • Well said. People are hungry for change…a sitting government ignores this at its own peril. Nolin is likely fed up with the dog-and-pony show and sees a way out, which also explains Hugh Segal retiring, who has championed opposition to a couple of Harper Party bills for being ‘too extreme’. Harper can’t set Conservative senators loose…they may start challenging all kinds of stuff when all he wants them to do is sit there and do as they’re told….and raise money of course.
          Next up: Duffy and Wallin…there’s almost zero chance that various short pants kids in the PMO aren’t drawn into that quagmire.

          • Your last line here reminds me of an other benefit of Trudeau’s step to de-partisanize the Senate: these senior, public-minded Senators will no longer be trod upon by the kids in short pants. For that reason alone, the Con senators must be jealous.

            Hugh Segal is a Great Canadian, and we will all miss his input to the Senate, even those who have never heard of him. Harper is driving out the really great ones (none of whom he appointed); we’ll left with the not-so-great.

          • Senator Segal embodies everything I once admired about the former Progressive Conservatives, and miss to this day: a deep dedication to principle and an unwillingness to be someone else’s stooge for the sake of power. I wouldn’t be surprised if this latest incarnation of ‘conservative’ brand gets abused to the point of requiring yet another handle after this government is done.

  11. Sometimes the problem isn’t with the product…it’s the salesman. Poilievre is one of those types who simply will not admit anything, all facts be damned. It makes him a good party ‘soldier’ (tin, of course) but his unrelenting denial of anything that challenges his duties to deliver Harper’s talking points leaves him with a real credibility deficit with everyone else. Eight years after coming to power, and after so many head-on confrontations with Elections Canada (along with Harper’s almost pathological hatred of EC) makes the ultimate intent of this whole ‘Fair Elections Act’ deeply suspicious.

  12. No mention Aaron on JP Kingsley’s thoughts on this piece of legislation? I would have thought the opinion of a former Chief Electoral Officer would be especially noteworthy here. But oh yeah…that whole “makes Poilievre look reasonable” thing.

    It’s just burning you up that Pierre Poilievre did something that is getting mostly acclaim, isn’t it?

    • Juxtapose this very real piece of substantive legislation spanning 180 pages – obviously the product of real hard work, real analysis, and real thoughtful contemplation of the various outcomes of the various changes, to…..Justin’s from-the-hip bare declaration that devout lifelong Liberals will no longer be Liberals.
      Can there be a more dramatic comparison between substance and meaningless fluff on the issue of democratic governance?

      • See – again with the lies and misdirection.

        There is nothing to compare here – they are two completely different things. Not to mention the fact that Trudeau’s move was not “from-the-hip”. But hey – you cannot make a point with the truth, so may as well lie…

        • I consider Justin’s move to be puffery. I consider this legislation to be substantive. I compared the two.
          This, is what the “tolerant progressive left” describes as a “lie”.
          We must walk in lockstep to the “correct” view of Justin, lest you be considered illigitimate. In case you wanted a sneak peak at what a world run by “progressives” looks like, this is it.

    • “Mostly acclaim”? Hardly; try ‘receptive of intent but still suspicious.’

      Meanwhile, your party’s chief bagman and head of the Conservative Party Fund, Senator Irving Gerstein, maintains his highly conspicuous position in both the senate and the party. Poilievre was called on that repeatedly yesterday, but simply wafted it away as “not an issue”. Too much money on the table to admit that ‘yeah, it’s a conflict of interest with the stated intent of a senate appointment’.
      Trudeau bounced them from party fundraising at a stroke…cue the crickets on the Harper Party side.
      There’s no legislation needed to put some space between the party and the Senate…but of course, what about ‘the money’? Gerstein delivers tons of cash, so choosing money over ethics is the easiest decision for a government that has spent the last 8 years reforming not a whole heck of a lot, and all of it ‘wedge’ issues that they later hope to exploit. And voting down some sort of accountable oversight of CSEC showed the Harper Party’s true colours on ‘democracy’ and ‘accountability’…in other words, nothing but empty talking points and parsed political double-speak.

  13. Do you think any of the parties out there don’t want a favor their party they will all make up things as they go none of that benefits the citizens so who wants to vote for any of them anyways I was wondering when they make an activist party I would like to be part of that as a run for mayor Hamilton Ontario put up or shut up all you activate run for something and 2014 election

  14. It’ll be interesting to see if the Liberals and NDP will vote against this legislation. They seem much more concerned with giving more power to Marc Mayrand than they are with actually improving our democracy.

  15. I weep for this country thinking that Justin Trudeau might become Prime Minister one day, who’d put the entire weight of our democracy on the shoulders of a single man. Brilliant idea that could never end badly.

    • …as opposed to the current occupant of 24 Sussex, who shares the weight of democracy? The guy who has driven the concentration of power in the PMO to new and glorious lows?

      I guess it’s ok if it’s a guy you like, right?