Day of Action planned to challenge the Unfair Elections Act

WINNIPEG, April 26, 2014 /CNW/ - Students, workers, and community members across Canada will be participating in public actions today to oppose Bill C-23, the federal government's Unfair Elections Act.

The dangerous changes proposed by Bill C-23 will impact how and if some Canadians can vote, creating particular barriers for students, low income Canadians, and seniors. Canadians have been consistent in their opposition to this Bill, and calls for its defeat are growing.

In Winnipeg, a rally will be taking place at City Hall on Tuesday, April 29 to oppose the Act. Winnipeg City Council will be voting on a motion to oppose the Bill on Wednesday, April 30. 

A large group of prominent Manitoba organizations have issued a joint statement calling for the Bill to be significantly amended or scrapped. The letter raises eight key concerns about Bill C-23, including how it would:

  • Make it harder for people to vote
  • Disproportionately impact students and youth, Indigenous people, seniors, people on low-incomes, and other groups of people who the Conservatives know are unlikely to vote for them actually make it harder to catch perpetrators of election fraud like Pierre Poutine

Organizations that have signed the open letter include: Child Care Coalition of Manitoba, Council of Canadians—Winnipeg Chapter, Canadian Dimension Magazine, Canadian Federation of Students—Manitoba , Canadian Labour Congress, Canadian Union of Postal Workers—Winnipeg Local, Canadian Union of Public Employees—Manitoba, Four Directions Walk Committee , Manitoba Federation of Labour, Manitoba Peace Council, Manitoba Young New Democrats, Réseau Action Femmes Manitoba, Unifor Prairies Council, Unifor Local 468, University of Winnipeg New Democrats, University of Winnipeg Students Association, Winnipeg Labour Council, Winnipeg People's Social Forum

UNITE TO STOP THE UNFAIR ELECTIONS ACT

The Harper government is seeking to rapidly pass a sweeping election law that Canada's Chief Electoral Officer has called an affront to democracy. The aim of this bill is not to introduce much needed positive reforms to election law in Canada, as has been claimed by the government. This legislation is a blatant attempt by the Harper government to stack the deck in favour of the Conservatives in the next federal election.  

Harper's new Unfair Elections Act would:

  • make it harder for people to vote.
  • disproportionately impact students and youth, Indigenous people, seniors, people on low-incomes, and other groups of people who the Conservatives know are unlikely to vote for them.
  • fail to bring to justice the people behind the widespread election fraud in 2011.
  • create a new "independent" Commissioner of Canada Elections, who would be accountable not to Parliament but to the Justice Minister.
  • actually make it harder to catch perpetrators of election fraud like Pierre Poutine.
  • prevent Elections Canada from talking about democracy, including prohibiting: Elections Canada participation in the Student Vote program, a national initiative to increase youth voter turnout by allowing 500,000 students below voting age to vote in a parallel election; publicly discussing (or even researching) how to increase voter turnout.
  • prevent Elections Canada from reporting publicly about voter complaints it receives, including about fraudulent calls.
  • stack the electoral deck in Harper's favour in a variety of additional ways, including changing the rules governing fundraising and election spending on robocalls companies.

We call on all Members of Parliament to:

  • not allow this new elections law to pass without removing the parts that would legalize voter suppression.
  • replace the parts of the Unfair Elections Act that undermine democracy with new provisions to prevent election fraud from happening again, including giving the Commissioner the right to compel evidence and levying a hefty fine against any political party which allows its database to be used to mislead voters.

We reject the Orwellian name the Harper government has given this legislation - the so-called "Fair" Elections Act - and will continue to refer to it more accurately as the Unfair Elections Act. We hope you will too. And we hope you will join us to stop it.

Manitoba Signatories:

Childcare Coalition Manitoba  | Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter | Canadian Dimension Magazine | Canadian Federation of Students Manitoba | Canadian Labour Congress | Canadian Union of Postal Workers Winnipeg Local | Canadian Union of Public Employees Manitoba | Four Directions Walk Committee | Manitoba Federation of Labour | Manitoba Peace Council | Manitoba Young New Democrats | Réseau Action Femmes Manitoba | Unifor Prairies Council  | Unifor Local 468 | University of Winnipeg Students Association  | University of Winnipeg New Democrats | Winnipeg Labour Council | Winnipeg People's Social Forum

If your organization would like to endorse this statement and join the growing opposition to the Unfair Elections Act, please send your name, organization, and contact information to: chair@cfsmb.ca. For more information, visit www.letpeoplevote.ca.

 

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students - Manitoba

For further information: For more information, to arrange interviews, or to contact: Bilan Arte, Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students--Manitoba, (c) 204.297.7230, (e) chair@cfsmb.ca