Member of Parliament says Conservatives vote against democracy

Alex Atamanenko takes federal government to task over quashing of Bill C-23 hearings

  • Feb. 28, 2014 6:00 a.m.

Ottawa, ON – Alex Atamanenko, MP (BC Southern Interior) is appalled that an NDP motion to hold cross-country hearings on the government’s election reform bill C-23, was defeated yesterday by the Conservatives.

The Conservatives have repeatedly broken Canada’s election laws and the BC MP believes the government introduced Bill C-23 to avoid being held accountable. “Why else would they bring in a scheme that will reduce the Chief Electoral Officer’s powers and make voting more difficult for hundreds of thousands of Canadians,” declared Atamanenko.

Atamanenko noted that petitions with 53,000 signatures from Canadians opposed to this anti-democratic legislation were delivered by the organization Leadnow to the House of Commons yesterday. “The government was clearly unmoved,” stated Atamanenko. “They have made it quite clear they are prepared to ram this bill through and could care less what Canadians think.”

According to Atamanenko Bill C-23 will, among other things, strip Elections Canada (EC) of its investigative power and its ability to engage Canadians in the electoral process. Voter ID cards which are credited with enfranchising thousands of students, seniors and First Nations people, will no longer be accepted to confirm identification at the polls. The bill will also put an end to vouching practices which were used by approximately 100,000 Canadians in the last election to exercise their vote.

The BC MP says that when a government plans to make sweeping legislative changes to the very core of our democracy Canadians have a right to be consulted. “I hope Canadians of all political stripes will loudly denounce Bill C-23,” concluded Atamanenko. “We cannot let the Conservative government continue in its plan to erode the very foundation of our democracy.”