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  (Anthony Jenkins for The Globe and Mail)

 

(Anthony Jenkins for The Globe and Mail)

ELECTORAL REFORM

An open letter on the Fair Elections Act Add to ...

The Senate committee has failed to respond adequately to the many legitimate criticisms of the other features of Bill C-23. These include campaign finance rules, the Treasury Board’s veto power over Elections Canada’s appointment of specialized staff, and the failure to require political parties to provide receipts for electoral expenses (even though they are reimbursed more than $30-million at taxpayer expense).

While the Senate report recommends that Elections Canada and the commissioner should be able to alert the public about “problems they uncover,” it does not explicitly lift the gag order imposed by the bill or ask that the government clarify whether the commissioner can publicly discuss investigations before charges are laid.

We implore all responsible public office-holders to heed reason, evidence and experience. The government should withdraw this bill and begin anew. We urge all conscientious members of Parliament to work to this end and, if necessary, to vote against the bill. And failing that, senators should keep faith with their role in our constitutional order – the voice of sober second thought – and return it to the House of Commons for further amendment.

Free and fair elections lie at the heart of our democracy. The government should not underestimate the commitment of Canadians to defend this fundamental principle.

Melissa Williams is professor of political science at the University of Toronto. Yasmin Dawood is assistant professor of law at the University of Toronto. Maxwell Cameron is professor of political science at the University of British Columbia. Monique Deveaux is professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph. Genevieve Fuji Johnson is associate professor of political science at Simon Fraser University. Patti Lenard is assistant professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.

Co-signatories:

Frances Abele, Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University

Arash Abizadeh, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, McGill University

Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta                                      

Laurie Adkin, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Environmental Studies Programme, University of Alberta

Gregory Albo, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, York University

Robert Anderson, Professor, Faculty of Environment, Simon Fraser University

Lesley Andres, Professor, Department of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia

Caroline Andrew, Professor and Past President, Canadian Political Science Association, Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa

Edward Andrew, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Victor Armony, Professor, Department of Sociology, Université du Québec à Montréal

Barbara Arneil, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia

Robert Asselin, Associate Director, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa

Yıldız Atasoy, Professor, Department of Sociology, Simon Fraser University

Chloë G. K. Atkins, Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Culture, University of Calgary

Michael Atkinson, Professor and Past President, Canadian Political Science Association, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan

Gerald Baier, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia

Joel Bakan, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia

Natasha Bakht, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

Herman Bakvis, Professor, School of Public Administration, University of Victoria

Ryan Balot, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Geraldine Balzer, Assistant Professor, College of Education, University of Saskatchewan

Keith Banting, Professor and Past President, Canadian Political Science Association, School of Policy Studies, Queen's University

Deborah Barndt, Professor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University

Darin Barney, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University

Sylvia Bashevkin, Professor and Past President, Canadian Political Science Association, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Pierre Beaudet, Replacement Professor, School of International Development and Global Studies, University of Ottawa

Ronald Beiner, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Daniel Béland, Professor, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan

Louise Bélanger-Hardy, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

Colleen Bell, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan

Karim Benyekhlef, Professor, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal

Loleen Berdhal, Associate Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan

Philip B. Berger, Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

Rachel Berman, Associate Professor, School of Early Childhood Studies, Ryerson University

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