Democracy

Elections staffed by Harper

Harper’s Fair Elections Act, Bill C-23, allows the ruling party to control who gets hired as an election poll supervisor. Much like a restaurant owner keeping his health inspector chained in his basement with a Costco crate of bottled water and a DVD box set of LOST, this is kinda creepy.

Helping underprivileged Harpers

In elections, Bill C-23 allows Harper to rake in more cash — throwing out rules designed to level the playing field, so that parties popular with wealthier Canadians gain a huge advantage. This is great news for everyone who extends their pinkie finger while sipping million-year-old scotch out of a tiger’s skull, but it’s bad news for the rest of us.

  • Increased the cap on donations, so parties with wealthier supporters (cough cough) can gain even more financial power
  • Stopped giving parties a subsidy for each vote received (so that parties have to rely completely on donations — even if their supporter base can’t afford to donate as much)
  • Allowed banks to give unlimited loans to political candidates (banks are regulated by Harper’s federal government)
  • Created a giant, vague category for “communications spent on fundraising” that can go completely unchecked

It’s kind of like trying to play soccer when your team is financed by selling chocolate-covered almonds and the other team is financed by Kim Kardashian.

Voting mysteriously becomes trickier

Even though there’s no evidence the vouching system ever resulted in fraud, Harper has banned it. The people who benefit most from voting with less ID? New citizens, students, young people, anyone who moves around a lot, and Aboriginal people. Now, we hesitate to speculate on what these demographics might all have in common. Perhaps they all love croissants.

Harper wears the robes in this relationship

Harper’s regime has suspended the tradition of parliamentary hearings into new Supreme Court judges, and went ahead and appointed their own candidates. (Attempts to persuade Harper to unilaterally appoint Drake have been unsuccessful.)

Hiding bills in long, epic novels about hobbits

Harper’s camp has pioneered a new technique for lawmaking: instead of passing bills for one thing, allowing everyone to read it, reflect on it and chime in, he crams a gazillion things into bloated bills — sometimes over 400 pages of reading. That’s longer than Lord of the Rings. But instead of lovable tales about plucky elfin men destroying cursed jewelry, these beasts are brimming with thousands of legislative changes — forcing everyone to rush through issues that actually warrant serious TLC.

Gandalf

One example? In a bill that was supposed to be about the budget, he snuck in an amendment allowing himself to appoint his fave, Justice Marc Nadon, to the Supreme Court…even though Marc wasn’t eligible. (The Supreme Court eventually struck Marc’s appointment down, which was, as you can imagine, pretty awkward.)

Turning off the lights and pretending no one is home

In a burst of “you can’t fire me if I never come to work” defiance, Harper shut down government three times since he was elected — completely wiping away all the work that was already in progress.

In 2008, he was inches away from being deemed unfit to lead (that’s how bad his proposed budget was). To stay in power, he prorogued parliament — something that’s normally only done when stuff on the legislative agenda is wrapping up. Harper’s prorogation was more like freaking out and rebooting your computer because someone came up behind you while you were reading fanfic about mating with a Justin Bieber centaur.

Then, in 2009, he prorogued at a weird time again — this time, to stop the questioning of him about Afghan detainees. He pulled the same stunt a third time in 2013, to avoid scrutiny over the Senate budget. “This really has been a blow to parliamentary democracy in Canada,” said Nelson Wiseman, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto.

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