What is to be done about the Fair Elections Act?
In an analysis published here at the Ottawa Citizen, I concluded that the Fair Elections Act could prove as costly for Conservatives as any other group in Canada. It is simply bad law, causing nothing but damage to our political system without benefiting anyone in the long run. If enacted, its legacy will be one of increased suspicion and polarization, decreased trust and legitimacy and ultimately, I argue, widespread resentment towards its architects, supporters, and perceived beneficiaries.
The Senate recommendations do not go nearly far enough to fix all that is wrong with the bill. What they have done however, is give us a window of opportunity to push government to reconsider the whole misbegotten scheme.
MPs (and Senators, who also matter in this debate) really do pay attention to feedback from constituents. Emails, letters and phone calls can cut through the clutter. If you have questions or doubts about the law, or are convinced that it is wrongheaded, I encourage you to tell your representatives about it. There are lots of other things you can do, depending on your level of outrage (and the flexibility of your work schedule, I suppose) but this is one clear, simple, and effective thing.
Call it #OperationEarful.
Look up your MP’s contact info here.
Senator contact info is accessible here (including information about province and party).
If you have friends or relatives living in Conservative ridings, consider reaching out to them as well. Explain why you don’t like the bill, why it’s so important to let MPs know what’s wrong with it now, before it passes and we all have to deal with the consequences.
As for what to say, there are resources all over the net to help. Here’s a list provided by UBC’s Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions. If you’re pressed for time, I suppose you could do worse than the following (from my op-ed above):
From the soft disenfranchisement of voters, to changes in party finance rules that advantage the Conservatives, to the partisanization of elections officials, to restrictions on the chief electoral officer’s (CEO) ability to communicate with Canadians, the bill is replete with measures antithetical to the principles of democracy.
The Fair Elections Act is not yet a done deal. We can act now to help prevent its passing. Do so, and we’ll be doing all Canadians—including Conservative MPs and their supporters—a favour.
[UPDATE: Thanks for visiting, not to mention reading all the way to the end! A friendly reminder: if you agree with what you read here, and yet are clicking away from the site without contacting an elected and/or Senate representative (or at least making plans to do so soon), then that is not a 100% effective execution of Operation Earful, which includes four distinct phases: click, read, act, share. Have a great Easter long weekend!]