An Open Letter to the Governor General Regarding the Fair Elections Act
Thursday, 29 May 2014 21:32

An Open Letter to the Governor General Regarding the Fair Elections Act

For Immediate Release May 29, 2014

Newmarket, Ontario - Progressive Canadian Party Leader, the Hon. Sinclair Stevens today released the text of an Open Letter to the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Rt. Hon.David Johnston, urging the Queen’s representative in Canada not to give Royal Assent to Bill C-23, referenced as the "Fair Elections Act.” The Open Letter was issued May 27, 2014.

Citing recent Commonwealth precedent where Governors General in Australia and New Zealand have acted or been called to define the duties of their office to protect the democratic rights of citizens to hold governments accountable, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Para. 3), the historical origins of these duties in the Queen’s Oath, and recent events in Canada concerning the present government Mr. Stevens in his letter stated that Bill C-23 is a challenge to democracy in Canada in at least two specific ways.

First, the Act as proposed, if given Royal Assent, appears to threaten to disenfranchise certain identifiable groups within Canadian society despite amendments approved only by government members in the House of Commons.

Second, the Act as proposed, if given Royal Assent, will remove the duty to enforce compliance with the Canada Elections Act in the matter of political donations and funding from an officer of Parliament answering to Parliament, the Commissioner of Elections, to instead answer to the governing party through the Attorney General. 

The reserve powers of the Governor General include the right 1.) To appoint a prime minister, 2.) To dismiss a prime minister, 3.) To dissolve Parliament, 4.) To force a dissolution of Parliament, and 5.) To refuse assent to legislation.

Consideration in depth has been presented to the Governor General in the accompanying OPEN LETTER. ending with this recommendation of the Progressive Canadian Party to His Excellency:

"Accordingly, it is strongly recommended that, instead of routinely signing Royal Assent, Your Excellency should discuss Bill C-23 in detail with Her Majesty and if there is any question to you simply refusing to approve the Bill, give consideration to referring it to the Supreme Court of Canada to judge its constitutionality.”

The Hon. Sinclair Stevens, Leader
The Progressive Canadian Party
Newmarket, Ontario
1-888-666-3821 
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
http://progressivecanadian.ca/

 

See Attachment 

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 May 2014 21:44
 
Fair Elections Act to be challenged in Courts
Thursday, 17 April 2014 20:21


"Fair Elections Act to be challenged in Courts"
 
For Immediate Release April 17, 2014
 
Newmarket, Ontario – The Honourable Sinclair M. Stevens, Leader of the Progressive Canadian Party, said today, "It is the view of the Progressive Canadian Party that Bill C-23, entitled the Fair Elections Act by the Harper government, will betray basic principles of democracy in Canada even if substantially amended.  Bill C-23 will deny the right to vote to large numbers of Canadians and as such must be challenged in the courts as unconstitutional."
 
Further, Bill C-23 undermines the role of Elections Canada as guardian of the integrity of the electoral system and would deny the responsibility of Elections Canada to promote democratic participation by Canadians.
 
"For these reasons and in ways indicated by scholars of Canadian constitutional law and political science published in the national media, Progressive Canadians believe the Fair Elections Act must be rejected as  unfair, undemocratic, and deserving of constitutional challenge even in light of amendments which are being recommended by members of the House of Commons and in Senate committee.  Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, is deeply flawed in fundamental ways and for its apparent intent."
 
Mr. Stevens continued, "The Elections Act ranks in importance with the Constitution, which cannot be altered by the Government-of-the-Day at its sole discretion."
 
"It is the intention of the Progressive Canadian Party to begin a constitutional challenge of Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, in federal court and in the Supreme Court of Canada should the act become law."
 
Bill C-23 was the creation of the Harper Government without consultation with Elections Canada officials, other political parties or Canadian citizens through public hearings. These facts were given further significance when it was learned that the author of a study cited by the Minister of Democratic Reform as supporting the Bill stated that in his view the government should either substantially amend or withdraw the act.
 
It is the position of the Progressive Canadian Party that whatever is passed into law the "Fair Elections Act" will be the work of the Government of Canada in inception and in passage alone and, in present or amended form, would undermine democracy in Canada.  As such it is unacceptable and must be challenged in the Courts.
 

-30-
 
For more information contact:
"The Hon. Sinclair Stevens, Leader
The Progressive Canadian Party
Newmarket, Ontario
1-888-666-3821
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
Progressive Canadians Argue Bill C-23 Should Not Apply in Next Election
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 16:53


"Progressive Canadians Argue Bill C-23 Should Not Apply in Next General Election."

For Immediate Release February 18, 2014

Newmarket, Ontario -
It is totally wrong for the Harper Government to use closure to speed through their proposed amendments to the Canada Elections Act that are favourable to the Conservative ruling party.
 
The Harper Government has a majority of the Members of the House of Commons, yet they had less than 25% of eligible voter support in the 2011 General Election
 
To make matters worse, they have chosen to ram Bill C-23 through the House of Commons when the media and the general public are distracted by the government introduction of the 2014 Budget and the Olympic Games.
 
They have drafted the proposed changes to the Canada Elections Act without consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer or any of his staff. They have not consulted with the general public and refuse to do so.
 
In the attached article Richard Cleroux in the Law Times, February 10, 2014, edition, masterfully elaborates on the partisan reasons the Harper Government is taking powers from Elections Canada.
 
Powers that when exercised have led to admission of wrongdoing by members of Mr. Harper's Conservative Party those now seeking to control them, officials of the governing Conservative party
 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper intends to use his long sought majority in the Commons, in Committee and in the Senate to ensure that Bill C-23 will become law. The ability of the Chief Electoral Officer and of Elections Canada to identify and prosecute wrongdoing will be removed and thousands of Canadian citizens will be disenfranchised.
 
Disenfranchisement of voters by changing the rules for voter identification at the polls in ways which disadvantage or may target identifiable demographic groups, possibly in partisan ways, has been described as voter suppression in the United States.  The poor, the elderly, students, the more or less mobile, and specific ethnicities are said to be targeted in American experience. Canadians have been warned against the danger of electoral reform of this kind by American observers of Canadian affairs.  For these reasons, it may be wondered if Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, might be better called the Voter Suppression Act if these concerns are true.
 
The National Media, is requested to consider, and unswervingly press, for that which alone provides fairness into the next Federal General Election.
 
The election of the next Parliament should be conducted under existing Elections of Canada law, rather than those changes being forced through Bill C-23 by the Harper Government.


Hon. Sinclair Stevens, Leader
The Progressive Canadian Party
Newmarket, Ontario
1-888-666-3821
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2014 04:45
 
Progressive Canadian Senate proposal enhances Trudeau initiative.
Friday, 31 January 2014 22:17

Progressive Canadian Senate proposal enhances Trudeau initiative.
    Building on Progressive Conservative Senator Elaine McCoy and Progressive Canadian Precedent

For Immediate Release January 31, 2014

Newmarket, Ontario - The Hon. Sinclair Stevens, Leader of the Progressive Canadian Party, today congratulated Justin Trudeau on his historic decision to make all Liberal Senators Independents freed from the Liberal Party caucus in the House of Commons.

Mr. Stevens stated further that the Progressive Canadian Party has proposed to end the exclusive power to appoint Senators by the prime minister since at least 2010, consistent with former Progressive Conservative Guiding Principles and the intentions of PC Policy Priorities.  Stevens said the PC Party proposal will take patronage and partisanship out of Senate appointments by seeking the advice and experience of governance found in those appointed to the Queen's Privy Council and, in so doing, take the power to appoint Senators out of today's partisan hands of the prime minister alone.
  
Mr. Stevens noted further that the Progressive Canadian proposal for Senate Reform for a better appointment system would enhance Justin Trudeau's bold proposal to release Liberal Senator's from party caucus discipline by providing the means to recommend appointments to the Governor General with the legitimacy of government experience informed by good will and public interest untainted by partisanship.
 
Independent Progressive Conservative Senator Elaine McCoy praised storied journalist Jim Travers' urging the Prime Minister to "add brilliance to the Red Chambers's sober second thoughts," adding the creative suggestion to conceive the ˜Senate as Think Tank" (2007).
 
In March 2010, the Tory Senator added, "Yesterday, another voice weighed in on the conversation. [Writer and Progressive Canadian] Brian Marlatt's thoughtful contribution suggests that the Governor General take advice on appointments from the entire Privy Council, not just the PM. As he says, 'Charges of patronage and partisanship would be overcome; there would be no risk to national unity, as would happen if senators were accountable to their province; and senators would not be subject to party discipline, as they would be if elected. Senators would not be just more politicians.' "
 
"By convention, prime ministers have recommended Senate appointments to the Governor General of Canada since Confederation.  Prime Ministers in general have respected the need for balance in recommended appointments but the potential for abuse has always been there.  Until today, no prime minister has received a 'pledge' to pass his party's legislation from those he in practice appoints", Mr. Stevens said.  "All Senators named by the current prime minister have made such "'pledges'", Stevens added, "this is the real Senate Scandal, the Harper Senate Scandal."
 
Proposals to abolish or elect Senators will not end this new partisanship in the Upper Chamber; proposing firewall federalism by directly electing or appointing elected Senators will threaten national unity, Progressive Canadians argue.  "We welcome Justin Trudeau's initiative to limit partisanship but it lacks a means of joining excellence, such as you might find in the Order of Canada, with experience of government, " Sinclair Stevens said.  "The Progressive Canadian proposal brings together excellence and experience."
 
A quorum of the Queen's Privy Council across party lines and levels of government, comprising former Governors General, present and former prime ministers and cabinet ministers, Supreme Court Chief Justices, inducted Leaders of the opposition and premiers, could fulfill its historic role as an advisory body to the Crown by recommending to the Governor General persons qualified to serve in Canada's Senate in fulfillment of its duty as a revising chamber of "sober second thought."  "Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin and their cabinets are members, so am I, and individual distinguished Canadians," Mr. Stevens stated, "The provinces would be consulted through  their premiers invited as Privy Councillors when senators are appointed."
 
"The criticism of Justin Trudeau's idea would be less and the proposal enhanced by appealing to the excellence and experience in the Queen's Privy Council. The further virtue, as members of our Progressive Canadian National Council have said, is that Senators will not be accountable to the provinces divisively or to partisan party discipline, not even to voters; their legitimacy as senators comes from their tenure based on excellence and experience to review, revise, and recommend amendment to legislation and regulation without the temptation or power to obstruct an elected government dedicated to good will and the common good of all Canadians.  This is practical, doable change, not an impractical utopia."
 
Sources:
 
Senator Elaine McCoy, Blog "Hullabaloos" "Senate as Think Tank," April 30, 2007
http://www.albertasenator.ca/hullabaloos/?article&41
 
Senator Elaine McCoy, Blog "Hullabaloos" "Same Old, Some New, Ideas on Senate Reform," March 30, 2010/
http://www.albertasenator.ca/hullabaloos/?article&494

 -30-

For more information contact:

"The Hon. Sinclair Stevens, Leader
The Progressive Canadian Party
Newmarket, Ontario
1-888-666-3821
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
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