Our Government's Fair Elections Act will protect voters from Fair Elections
At this very moment the Harper Conservatives are shutting down democratic debate on their so-called "Fair Elections Act" and trying to ram the 242-page bill through Parliament only three days after it was tabled.
In drafting their electoral reform bill, the Conservatives refused to consult with Elections Canada, with other political parties and, most importantly, with you and me. Now they're rushing to make it law without any public consultations despite the serious harm the reforms pose to voters' rights and our democracy.
Does this sound like the actions of a party that's concerned about your vote?
Now the good news. There's still a chance we can stop this – but it requires bold action from all of us right now.
This coming Monday, the Council of Canadians will table our Democracy 24/7 Petition in the House of Commons in an urgent intervention on behalf of voters across the country! There are deep fractures within the Conservative Party that make this bill vulnerable, but I need your help.
Better termed the "Unfair Elections Act," this bill fails voters in several serious ways by:
Stripping Elections Canada of its independent power to investigate fraudulent activity like the fraud we saw in the robocall scandal. Investigation into this type of fraud would now be under federal oversight and susceptible to political interference.
Making it illegal for Elections Canada to encourage people to vote and shutting down its vital voter education and outreach programs, and making it illegal for Elections Canada to even notify voters of fraudulent activity.
Bringing in the U.S. Republican tactic of requiring people to present two pieces of photo ID in order to vote – making it more difficult for youth, senior and aboriginal voters to cast their ballots.
And there are even more serious problems. Perhaps the most dangerous element of the bill isn't what's in it – but what's not.
While on the surface the proposed new legislation appears to clamp down on fraudulent robocalls, the devil is in the details. Nothing in the act prevents another "Pierre Poutine" from perpetrating widespread voter suppression or electoral fraud. Nor does the act hold political parties responsible when their voter databases are used for fraudulent activity.
This isn't the comprehensive electoral reform Canadians deserve, and it's far from "fair." With your help, we'll pressure MPs to vote this bill down.
The Council of Canadians, together with democracy defenders like you, came together to make sure the robocall scandal wasn't swept under the rug. We fought tirelessly, and in the end helped to achieve the landmark legal ruling that proved widespread fraud happened, and pointed directly to the Conservative Party's database as the source.
I know we come together again to stop this bill and protect our democracy.
Leaked documents from November 2012 suggest the Harper government has thrown Canadian municipalities under the bus, forever banning “buy local” and other sustainable purchasing policies that help create jobs, protect the environment and support local farmers and local businesses. Please express your opposition to this.
The Federal Court has nuked the Conservatives effort to stop the courts from hearing a legal challenge to some of the results of the 2011 federal election. With the support of The Council of Canadians, individuals in seven of the more than 40 affected ridings legally challenged the results under the Canada Elections Act. In June, the Conservatives petitioned the court to dismiss the challenge. Please read more by clicking on title.
Our collective institutions are similarly at their weakest points just as we need them to be at their strongest and most imaginative. Our democracy — including political parties — is increasingly unable to deliver what it once promised, let alone what we want. Universities are increasingly corporatized, jettisoning traditional ethics for corporate loot to pay their bills. Regulations developed over decades to protect us are either being eliminated or simply unenforced by governments whose job it once was to ensure our safety. Major media, which once, nominally at least, entertained the notion of political debate about society’s direction, have been hijacked by corporatist ideology and are thus rendered incapable of seeking the truth, let alone telling it. Please read more by clicking on title.
The Alberta Federation of Labour called for an inquiry Tuesday after it obtained a government list of more than 4,000 companies given approval to hire temporary foreign workers last year, many in the service industry.
"You look down this list and what you see is McDonald's, Tim Hortons, and Subway. This list goes on. It stretches the bounds of credibility that all of these employers have been using temporary foreign workers to hire skilled workers," said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, on CBC News Network's Power & Politics. Please read more by clicking on title.
In the land of government plenty -- that vast landscape populated with the tax dollars of Canadians -- there is no shortage of politicians willing to hand out and defend subsidies to business and no dearth of corporations willing to take the cash. Please read more by clicking on title.
In January 2013, the International Monetary Fund reported that Canada's implicit subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies amount to $787 per Canadian. That's more than $3,000 a year for a Canadian family of four.
Chrysler wants $700-million to "preserve" 4,600 jobs. Do the math and that's over $152,000 per Chrysler job. Since 2003, including the 2009 bailout cash, and to 2013, the federal and Ontario governments have offered up $17.2-billion to various automotive companies courtesy of taxpayers. Corporate welfare is failed industrial policy for many reasons, but the evidence shows the cash overwhelmingly ends up with existing industry players who can afford to lobby for subsidies. Please read more by clicking on title.
Chrysler’s latest contribution to this oeuvre, a demand for nearly $500 million in public funds to keep its Windsor minivan plant open, is distinguished only by its brazenness. Of course, even with these periodic ransom payments, plants have still closed and jobs have still been lost: Since 1965, the National Post reports, nine assembly plants have closed, while employment in the broader industry has shrunk by more than 50,000 jobs in just the last decade alone. But there can be little doubt the industry is a good deal larger than it would have been in the absence of all this special treatment — including the 2009 bailout, to which the two levels of government contributed a combined $13.7 billion, only a fraction of which has been repaid, or ever will be. Article by Andrew Coyne. Please read more by clicking on title.
I am encouraged by the “occupy” movement spreading around our world. Finally we are talking about capitalism and thinking critically about the kinds of worlds we are currently co-creating due to the massive structural adjustments done to our modes of developments beginning in the 1970’s.
Most of these adjustments were done by stealth, prompted in part by the likes of the Fraser Institute, the CD Howe Institute, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Council of Corporate Executives. Please read more by clicking on title.
Dr. David Suzuki endorses the Occupy Movements of The World and slams the system of corruption where "Corporate Greed" is controlling the society of all peoples of the world. Destroying humanity and our entire planet in the process.
The news that the federal Conservative government’s omnibus budget bill included a clause that will allow American police officers to cross the international border and make arrests should be deeply disturbing to all Canadians. Please read more by clicking on title.
Our criminal justice system is by no means perfect, but the omnibus crime bill will send us back to a 19th century punishment model. Here are some reasons why Canadians need to speak out against this legislation. Please read more by clicking on title.
The overall crime rate in Canada is at its lowest level since the early 1970s, and serious crime is similarly falling. This is good news, of course. And it may in large part be due to the fact that police staffing levels are at a 30-year high nationwide. Please read more by clicking on title.
The new laws will actually provide less public safety, not more. Hundreds of non-violent offenders will now attend “con college,” learning many dubious skills. Inmates will come back to the street bitter and angry at the treatment they have received. And many more of them will be released without any supervision whatsoever.Please read more by clicking on title.
Budgets are about choices, they reflect a government's values and priorities. With a $250 billion federal budget, the Harper Government could choose to invest in programs like universal child care or pharmacare... or spend that money on corporate tax cuts, prisons, and fighter jets. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives(CCPA) has created a poster and a short video to help illustrate the choices between this and that. Which would you choose?
After watching the above video, try to develop your own budget using the CCPA's interactive budget tool based on their Alternative Federal Budget. You can choose the programs you think are important, but watch out though, budget choices have consequences.
Recently, two leading economists added their voices to those warning of a looming affordability crisis in Canada's public health care system. On Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to make it worse.Please read more by clicking on title.
Watch this moving speech by retired Kootenay MLA Corky Evans at The Common Sense Canadian's "Take Back Our BC" townhall tour event in Nelson, BC. Once again Corky was teamed up with the touring Rafe Mair. The inimitable Evans discusses globalization, the loss of our social democracy, and the need for citizens to become engaged in the political process to reclaim their environment and public resources. Note that it was at the Oceanside Coalition for Strong Communities’ conference in 2008 called “BC for $ale” that the dynamic duo of Rafe and Corky made their first appearance.
Renowned Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki speaks about the environment, the economy, climate change and our future. In this six part video, Suzuki makes strong case that the economy must include the environment. See his six part speech video by cliking on the links below:
Budgetary Bill C-9 is the Conservatives' third attempt to remove Canada Post's exclusive rights to handle international mail. This will limit the Canada Post to make money for supplying public services. Please read more by clicking on title.
Stephen Harper has done what all prime ministers do when their governments are in trouble: rearrange faces. Historically, cabinet shuffles are more style than substance, and here the prime minister honours a venerable tradition.
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