Over 30 people braved the chilly spring conditions Tuesday in Vernon to send a message to Ottawa on the 'Fair Elections Act.'
“We showed up at the MP for Okanagan Shuswap Colin Mayes's office and we protested the governments pushing through of the fair elections act which we have affectionately renamed the 'Un-fair elections act,'” explained Leadnow.ca Community Activist Jacqui Gingras who is also seeking the NDP nomination for Okanagan-Shuswap for the next federal election.
From Victoria to Halifax, citizens gathered today at 25 MP offices across the country to deliver a petition on behalf of 80,000 Canadians.
The delivery was part of a national day of action called “Let People Vote! - fix the “Fair Elections Act” or scrap it entirely.”
The petition opposes what Gingras called unnecessarily stricter voter ID requirements that could stop hundreds of thousands from voting in the next election, and calls for election fraud investigators to be given the power to compel political operatives to testify.
“The issue is that this act actually works to disengage voters from the democratic process of voting in an election and it does that in three different ways,” explained Gingras.
“First, it does away with vouching which is a process where people who don't have a fixed address can vote in an election by having someone vouch for them.”
This she claimed directly affects people who typically would not vote conservative, who are low income, who are first nations, who are younger, or who are attending university.
“The second major issue is that it strips Elections Canada from any power they have to investigate electoral fraud,” said Gingras.
She says the third issue with the act is that it makes it illegal for Elections Canada to promote voting.
“At a time we actually need more engagement we are seeing this act that is suppressing voters rights.”
She said her protest and the ones around the country were done to let people know they are not happy.
“Ideally we would highlight to conservatives that Canadians are not happy with how this process has gone and it would slow it down,” said Gringas.
She said they are hoping the act is changed or scrapped entirely.
“Canadians need more incentive to participate in democracy, not less. This Act works to erode citizen engagement and I wanted to speak out against it,” said Gringas.
The Let People Vote national day of action was supported and facilitated by Leadnow.ca, the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students.
“It is not right that it is happening and too many rights are being stripped away and how our democracy needs to be protected,” added Gringas.