OTTAWA – “It’s a sad day for democracy,” Justin Trudeau said, shortly after the House of Commons passed the Fair Elections Act with a vote of 148-124. “When I’m Prime Minister I promise to fully repeal Bill C-23 and reinstate the successful practice of voting without identification.”
The Bill is expected to pass the Senate and become law later this summer.
Liberal supporter Frank Levesque was also upset with the passing of Bill C-23. “I have a driver’s license, health card, birth certificate, Canadian passport, library card, SIN card, Canadian Blood Services card, Canadian Forces ID, firearms license, hunting & fishing license, hospital bracelet, Native Status card, liquor ID card, debit card, credit card, and I’m expected to be able to show TWO of these? Or just one AND a bill with my address on it? This is obviously voter suppression tactics from the Conservative party.”
A recent Angus Reid Global poll showed that 72% of Canadians supported the move to require voters to show identification at the polls.
On January 23, 2006, during the 39th General Election, the riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River had one polling station that counted well over 100% of the votes from the possible voting population. On top of the 380 registered voters, an additional 240 people arrived without any identification and all were vouched for. A draw to win a television was even offered at the polling station if you voted. “This is great,” an Elections Canada representative said. “Our duty is to promote voter turnout, and with a voter turnout of well over 100% we’ve shown just how important it is for voters to not show readily available identification.”
Every single vote at the polling station was for Liberal candidate Gary Merasty who defeated Conservative MP Jeremy Harrison by 68 votes. “If the Fair Elections Act had been in place during the 2006 Federal election I wouldn’t be an MP,” Merasty said. “Showing identification is just an American style attack against democracy.”
It’s not known how Justin Trudeau will be elected Prime Minister with vouching off the table. “I’m really counting on my supporters to come out and vote,” the federal Liberal leader said. “I support their choice of voting Liberal and I hope all their choices in the next election is for the Liberal Party of Canada.”
Photo credit: Justin Trudeau, flickr