Nova Scotia ACORN members fight to defend the right to vote!
Posted April 28, 2014
Posted April 28, 2014
On April 26, ACORN members along with the CFS, Council of Canadians, PSAC, and LeadNow, gathered to protest Bill C-23 – dubbed the “Unfair Elections Act” – because the elimination of the the voter identification card and vouching stops thousands of low-income Canadians from voting.
Check out the article in the Chronicle Herald:
Halifax crowd rallies against proposed electoral reforms
Opponents of the federal government’s proposals for electoral reforms rallied in Halifax on Saturday, a day after Ottawa announced it will make changes to its much-criticized bill.
At least 80 protesters assembled outside the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market to hear speakers criticize the controversial Fair Elections Act.
It was one of a series of rallies held in Canada to attack the government’s planned legislation, electoral reform critics say would it make it more difficult for many electors on voting day.
On Friday, the Conservative government said some of its proposals are changing. The planned amendments come after months of public opposition.
Regarding the crucial subject of vouching, allowing citizens who cannot provide proof of identity or address to have a voter swear on their behalf, the government says electors can sign an oath of residence. Ottawa is still planning to abolish vouching.
Also, the government will now allow Elections Canada to continue to do outreach to schools to explain voting to the next generation of electors. The Tories were initially going to scrap that.
The changes announced Friday have been sent to the parliamentary committee studying the proposed new elections act.
Despite the modifications, the act should be yanked, organizers of the Halifax event said.
The Harper government has said the proposed law, Bill C-23, will help improve Canada’s electoral process “by putting special interests on the sidelines and rule-breakers out of business.”
It would make it “harder to break elections law,” a government release said in February.
Halifax protester Katelynn Northam said Ottawa’s amendments are “somewhat of a partial win” that were only brought about because of public pressure.
“They’ve relented somewhat on the vouching issue but people will still not be able to have someone vouch for their identity, which will disenfranchise people who don’t have the ability to prove that,” she told The Chronicle Herald.
Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre told reporters in Ottawa Friday the changes will improve the government’s proposed legislation.
In Halifax, protesters assembled near the busy market carried signs and chanted slogans under a sunny sky. Some passersby stopped to listen to speeches, but most ignored the rally and carried on with their weekend pursuits.
Demonstrators included students, trade unionists and social-justice advocates. Northam represented Leadnow.ca, an advocacy organization that aims “to build a stronger democracy,” its website says.
Last month, federal NDP politicians were in Dartmouth hosting a town hall-style meeting on electoral reform. Attendees heard the planned bill is disingenuous, partisan and does a disservice to democracy.
Ottawa has said the reforms will provide “better customer service for voters.”
The government’s release earlier this year said a proposal for an extra advance voting day would give Canadians four advance polling days.
Northam acknowledged more advance polling is beneficial but said the Fair Elections Act is full of bad proposals that would help the Tories before the next election.
“We feel that a lot of this bill has been orchestrated with the intent to stack the deck in favour of the Conservatives,” she said, adding, opponents remain concerned about “the lack of powers given to Elections Canada to investigate (voter) fraud.”
Article by Michael Lightstone for the Chronicle Herald