The monster Fair Elections Act, with its "sharper teeth, longer reach, and freer hands", is being fast-tracked to the Senate even before it passes in the House of Commons because Steve is in a huge rush to ram it - and its accompanying muzzling of Elections Canada's investigation into Con election fraud in the last election - through all the hoops in time for the next one in 2015.
If the senators here look fairly relaxed about having a monster in their midst, it's because they already know how this particular story ends. This is the same bunch, after all, who just three months ago voted 51- 30 against having Deloitte partner Michael Runia testify about a phone call he received from his contact Senator Irving Gerstein amid PMO interference in Deloitte's audit into Senator Mike Duffy.
Senator Claude Carignan, Con leader of the Red Chamber of sober second pre-thought, thinks it's "a very good bill" :
“I don’t think the comments from the experts are appropriate,” he said.
Some of the urgent changes "have to be adopted at the end of June if we want to have [them] in application for the next election.”
Yesterday Pierre Poilievre, addressed the Conservative senators in a private caucus meeting. CBC reported what the Con senators told them about it afterwards in what they termed an "Exclusive!" :
"Conservative sources in the Senate tell the CBC's Hannah Thibedeau and Rosemary Barton that Pierre Poilievre, minister of state for democratic reform, is open to changing the section of Bill C-23 that would eliminate the practice of vouching at polling stations."
Even if this second hand info is true - Big whoop.
Con Negotiating 101 :
1. Stick way more than you expect to get passed in a real stinker of a reactionary bill that, in addition to killing off vouching, includes
- gagging the head of Elections Canada;
- refusing him the power to compel testimony from suspected fraudsters;
- stopping EC projects to encourage voting;
- moving the investigator's office under Peter MacKay;
- giving national and local party winners of the previous election the right to nominate the returning officers and poll clerks for the next election
- not including fundraising to previous supporters as a campaign expense; and
- raising campaign donation limits from $1000 to $5000 and $25,000.
2. Be totally intractable about considering any changes at all - very important step.
3. When all the experts - including your own, international press, and even the editorial board of the Globe and Mail, which has endorsed Harper in every election, thinks the bill should be outright scrapped -
it's time to simulate some good faith by giving way on one point to stem the outcry, thereby looking like you have caved a bit to opposition while still getting most of your boatload of backward bs past them.
Thursday Update : Hill Times :
Mr. Poilievre indicated on Wednesday that reports might have been incorrect to indicate he was open to amendments—at least to replace vouching with a new system for electors without sufficient ID rather than offering no special measures at all.“I’ll let you know in a month when the committee actually reviews its amendments,” Mr. Poilievre told reporters. “And I think the bill’s terrific the way it is ...".
Toon monster in the Senate based on Ghostbusters character.