Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Powerful Indictment

Thanks to The Salamader for bringing the following letter by Jacob Kearey-Moreland to my attention. Published yesterday in The Orillia Packet and Times, it is a powerful indictment of the 'Fair' Elections Act and the mentality behind it. For anyone wishing to drop him a line, his contact information appears at the end of the letter:

The Orwellian-named Fair Elections Act, while on the surface appearing to disenfranchise Canadian non-Conservative voters and, in other ways, advancing the interests of its authors, seems to have as its underlying driving force an attempt to undermine democracy itself.

Canadian democracy is under attack and on the ropes. With declining voter turnout, ever-increasing concentration of power in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Senate scandal, numerous unresolved cases of electoral fraud, most notably misleading robocalls and exceeded campaign spending limits, Canadians have lost faith in our public institutions. Canadians do not trust politicians. They no longer think the government works for them, but rather it works for those with money and power. A fractured opposition and an archaic voting method, first past the post, resulted in 56% of the seats for a party with 39% of the vote and only 61% turnout.

How can a party that received only 25% support of eligible voters unilaterally pass new election laws against reasoned opposition and act as if it will increase participation and confidence in elections? As a voter, I am losing confidence.

The Fair Elections Act could be the knockout punch for Canadian democracy. It is my hope this will not be the end, but rather a new beginning. I believe ordinary Canadians, despite repeated blows, can muster the strength and courage to stand back up once more.

As it pertains to strengthening Canadian elections and bettering confidence in electoral outcomes, the Conservative party has done nothing to address legitimate and court-document cases of electoral fraud. Rather, it has created a straw man and is now throwing the baby out and leaving the bathwater.

Without open, public consultations, Simcoe North Conservative MP Bruce Stanton has already declared his unwavering support for this bill. What does he know that we don’t? How is he so sure this bill will increase confidence in electoral outcomes and spur voter participation? Evidence and experience suggest the opposite.

Will he defend his minister’s personal attacks and character assassinations on honest, hard-working public officials and dismiss such disrespect for parliamentary democracy as “just politics?” Or is Stanton of the opinion the fundamentals of Canadian democracy do not deserve to be widely debated, in public, across the nation, before such extensive and controversial changes are to be made? Surely, with more time and input, Canadians could improve this legislation beyond the ability of its partisan authors. What could move Stanton?

The toxicity eroding our democratic institutions runs deep — much deeper than the Fair Elections Act. The Conservative party, which positions itself as anti-elite, anti-expert, anti-science and anti-government, uses scientifically tested language and expertly crafted policy, borrowed from American Republican think-tanks and politicians, to manufacture support from “the average Canadian” when, in reality, among those who influence the party are the elites who control the country’s largest banks and oil companies — not so average. They don’t care for fair elections or democracy. They care for long-term power, more money and less accountability. Ironically, that is what Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre accused Elections Canada of wanting.

It is time for voters of all political stripes to speak up to protect our most fundamental freedom — the right to vote in fair elections — our soldiers famously fought and died for. Conservative voters, especially, have a choice of honour to make and an opportunity for genuine leadership. Do you want to defend our system or your party?

Jacob Kearey-Moreland is a local resident and gardener. He can be contacted at

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