Troubleshooting the Fair Elections Act - Macleans.ca

Troubleshooting the Fair Elections Act

More questions as second-reading debate ends

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Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand spoke to both the CBC and CTV this weekend to explain his perspective on (and concerns about) the Fair Elections Act and NDP critic Craig Scott offers 2,700 words of concerns.

Meanwhile, Justin Ling challenges Pierre Poilievre’s numbers on vouching and Adam Goldenberg wonders if the Fair Elections’ elimination of vouching might be unconstitutional, and on that point a former senior counsel says Goldenberg might be right. Steven Shrybman suggests amendments that would fight voter fraud. Brent Rathgeber and Bill Casey argue that independent candidates remain disadvantaged. And, from the right, Gerry Nicholls laments that the Fair Elections Act doesn’t repeal the ban on third-party advertising.

The bill was debated WednesdayThursday and Friday and will receive its final hours of debate at second reading today, starting at noon, with a vote this evening. It will then proceed to the Procedure and House Affairs committee, which could conceivably decide how to proceed at its next scheduled meeting on Tuesday (the New Democrats have already tabled their opening bid on committee hearings).

On that note, the Globe’s editorial board suggests the Conservatives give the Fair Elections Act time.

The government needs to slow down and allow more consultation on this bill. Elections are the foundation of democracy. There’s too much at stake.

There’s a longer conversation to be had here about how and how quickly legislation moves through the House, but on Thursday I threw out two comparison points: the Conservative government’s Accountability Act in 2006 and the Liberal government’s election-financing reforms in 2003. Both took longer to go from tabling to passing at second reading. The Conservative bill was 72 days old when it passed the House, while the Liberal bill was 134 days old when it passed.

See previously: What might be problematic about the Fair Elections Act?

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