Opposition Motion — Proposed changes to the Elections Act

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Toronto—Danforth for raising this. I want to thank the official opposition for putting this in one of its supply day motions. This is critical. It is unprecedented, as the hon. member noted, for one of the major national newspapers in this country, The Globe and Mail, to run five sequential editorials urging that the bill not pass. This is not some sort of partisan hysteria, as the minister would have us believe. This response to the so-called fair elections act is the response that should come from every single member of this place in response to a bill that is so deliberately intended to suppress a vote. It is not acceptable in the Canadian democracy.

I ask my hon. colleague, should the amendments not proceed successfully today, should we not be able to amend the bill, is it not time for opposition parties to band together and perhaps seek a ruling from the Supreme Court before the bill passes that this violates section 3 of the charter?

Craig Scott: Mr. Speaker, let me say that I am pretty confident that if the bill passes intact or anywhere close to intact, there will be no small lineup of civically minded individuals and organizations that would challenge it.

The vouching provisions will certainly be challenged as the final safeguard for protecting the right to vote, but the entire intricate interconnection of elements in the bill—which all come down to depriving and excluding people from their right to vote, in the result but increasingly by intention because the government knows this will be the result—will also be challengeable.