IN THE HOUSE ~ Question ~ on Stephen Harper’s so-called Fair Elections Act

 

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Sheila Fraser did not pull punches when she was investigating Liberal corruption during the sponsorship scandal. She is a Canadian hero, and she has been clear on the Conservatives' unfair elections act. She calls it an attack on democracy. She is particularly troubled by limitations imposed on the Chief Electoral Officer's independence. She stated, “Independent officers of Parliament and the government is now restricting what they can say? It's just so inappropriateâ€�.

    Does the minister finally understand his changes are inappropriate and unfair, and will he withdraw his attack on democracy?

    Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Minister of State (Democratic Reform), CPC): Mr. Speaker, we already knew Elections Canada's position on this, we just disagree with it. Elections Canada and the government disagree on the view that Canadians should present ID when they vote. The everyday Canadian voter has no problem presenting that ID. It is a reasonable position, it is common sense, and the Canadian people support it.

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the minister should stop attacking Sheila Fraser and chief electoral officers from across the country, and witnesses as well, and start listening to Canadians.

    The minister has been answering questions about Sheila Fraser's stinging criticism by attacking this trusted public figure. We are seeing this again now. He is trying to demonize Elections Canada and attack the credibility of Sheila Fraser. Sheila Fraser deserves our country's thanks. She stood up against Liberal corruption and she is getting shameful treatment by the Conservatives.

    Will the minister now stand up and apologize to Sheila Fraser for his inappropriate comments?

    Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Minister of State (Democratic Reform), CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is entirely appropriate for an elected government, based on reason and common sense, to disagree with Elections Canada. Elections Canada serves Parliament, not the other way around. That is the way it works in a democracy. Elected officials listen to the views of all Canadians and then make decisions in their interest. That is what we have done with the fair elections act. It is based on common sense, it is reasoned, and the Canadian people support it.

    M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, l'ex-vérificatrice générale du Canada qui a mis au grand jour le scandale des commandites des libéraux, Sheila Fraser, estime que le projet de loi C-23 constitue une attaque contre la démocratie canadienne.

    Quand c'était le temps de taper avec raison sur les libéraux, l'actuel ministre d’État à la réforme démocratique a évoqué le nom de l'ex-vérificatrice générale à 65 reprises à la Chambre. Or, aujourd'hui, il prétend qu'elle n'existe plus.

    Le ministre va-t-il écouter Sheila Fraser et retirer son projet de loi?

    L’hon. Pierre Poilievre (ministre d’État (Réforme démocratique), PCC): Monsieur le Président, nous avons déjà écouté Élections Canada, mais nous ne sommes pas en faveur de leurs propositions.

    Quand Élections Canada dit que les gens devraient pouvoir voter sans identification, nous ne sommes pas d'accord. Ce n'est pas que nous n'avons pas écouté. Au contraire, nous avons bien écouté. C'est à cause du fait que nous avons écouté que nous ne sommes pas en faveur de ces propositions. Notre projet de loi est raisonnable, il a du gros bon sens et les Canadiens l'approuvent.

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