Ramming through democratic improvements is undemocratic
Published Friday, February 7, 2014 5:50PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 7, 2014 6:03PM EST
He used to drive reporters nuts, calling up to whine about coverage and spin positive stories about his besieged boss, then Canadian Alliance Leader Stockwell Day. We always brushed him off.
Despite such humble beginnings, political aide Pierre Poilievre won a Conservative seat in Ottawa at age 24, knocking out a prominent Liberal cabinet minister in the process. Then he became Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s pet, defending his boss and smearing the opposition with such nasal nastiness that MPs on his own side were caught rolling their eyes on camera.
Now, finally, Poilievre is all grown up as a cabinet minister for democratic reform with something positive to call his own.
His comprehensive election law makeover this week got good marks from many, quibbles from a few. It should, in the long term, make for cleaner, fairer elections.
Best of all, and this comes from my western DNA, it allows Canadians to simultaneously watch election results roll in across all four-and-a-half time zones.
Nothing miffs a westerner more than turning on their television election coverage to learn the East has already crowned a majority government before their vote was even counted.
But then Poilievre’s new boss did something inexplicable. Hours after the bill was introduced for discussion, Harper’s house leader imposed a strict time limit on how long the opposition could discuss it.
Why a comprehensive 250-page revamp of our sacred right to vote needs to be passed in such a hell-bent hurry gobsmacks common political sense.
There’s no urgency here. Electoral reform has been years in the making and there’s still 20 months to go before a vote when the proposed changes would need to take effect.
All the government has done is fabricate a procedural objection to Poilievre’s signature bill.
Harper’s government loves to flex its dictatorial majority muscle over the helpless opposition forces. If their rivals are not outraged, the Harper bench is not happy.
But not even the Pierre Poilievre of old could spin the story of his government ramming through so many democratic improvements using such hasty undemocratic means as anything but a negative.
That’s the Last Word.