Does the Fair Elections Act pave the way for Conservatives in 2015?

Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre says the Fair Elections Act will ensure Canadians are in charge of democracy. But critics say the provisions in the act benefit the Conservative party rather than ensure democratic elections. (Reuters/Chris Wattie)

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A new 242-page Elections Act is barreling through parliament with implications and consequences for our next Federal Election. Critics of the Fair Elections Act say the Conservatives are in a rush to push the bill through because it's changes to the Elections Canada Act are all part of their 2015 federal election strategy.

"The referee should not be wearing a team jersey. Independence is governance 101".

Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre

The Minister of State for Democratic Reform may have been reaching for a decent hockey metaphor, but since the release of the Fair Elections Act last week ... the relationship between the federal government and Elections Canada has been icy.

In 2012, the Conservatives promised reforms to Canada's Election Act after public outrage over the robocalls scandal. From raising limits on political contributions, to limiting the powers of the electoral officer -- the Fair Elections Act has met mixed reviews.


"I'm afraid there's nothing in the bill that improves the toolbox for the commissioner who carries those investigations. I think issues about timeliness about investigation are not addressed there. The ability of the commissioner to have access to relevant information or people who have information about a case is not there".

Canada's Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand

As the bill makes its way through parliament, some say the update is less about improving elections and more about giving the Conservative Government an edge in the next Federal vote.

  • Pierre Poilievre is the Minister of State for Democratic Reform and Conservative Member of Parliament for Nepean-Carleton. He was in Ottawa.

  • Craig Scott calls the Fair Elections Act a "con game" that threatens democracy in Canada. He is a NDP MP and official Opposition Critic for Democratic and Parliamentary reform. Craig Scott was in Ottawa.

Tell us what you think on this new Elections Act and the fact that it is going very quickly through parliament.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins, Josh Bloch and Alexa Huffman.

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