Yet another group of academics, this time 465 Canadian professors, have signed a open letter voicing their concern about the damage to democracy if the Canadian government’s proposed Fair Elections Act is passed.
Published in the Globe and Mail newspaper Wednesday (April 23) the letter calls on the Canadian government to “to withdraw the [Fair Elections Act] bill and draft truly fair election reforms based on meaningful consultations with opposition parties, non-partisan experts, Elections Canada and the public. There is no reason to depart from this laudable Canadian tradition for electoral reform.”
Last month a smaller group of professors wrote an open letter saying the proposed legislation “would damage the institution at the heart of our country’s democracy: voting in federal elections.”
The government is insisting the legislation will eliminate voter fraud and tighten rules on election spending. Critics, including the opposition parties, say the legislation actually takes away the right to vote to upwards of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, opens loopholes in election spending rules, and will favour the ruling Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The next federal election is in 2015.
The Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre calls the legislation a “common sense bill”.
Globe and Mail – An open letter from academics on the Fair Elections Act – here
Globe and Mail – Academics call on Tories to drop Fair Elections Act – here
National Post – Don’t undermine Elections Canada (January open letter) – here
C-23 – Fair Elections Act – status of bill – here