Thursday, November 29, 2007

Whoops--NDP gets bum rap?

I just received this earlier this afternoon. (Reprinted with permission.) I'm glad for now that I held off on the card-shredding. But why didn't the NDP get out a press release yesterday on this?

In any case, assuming a thorough, proper evisceration of C-6 at committee or an NDP "No" vote, it looks like a little sheepishness is in order. Bad Dawg.

Dear Editor,

RE: Bill C-6 - visual identification while voting [NDP supports show-your-face bill, Nov 28, 2007]

We have serious concerns about Bill C-6, the motivations behind it, and the manner in which it will be applied. That's why, as responsible parliamentarians, we believe the testimony of witnesses before Committee, the views of Canadians and any amendments that result will be so important.

To be clear, contrary to the above-noted article, our caucus has not taken a final position on Bill C-6.

New Democrats agree with the Globe and Mail's editorial position that this bill was motivated by politics and that “the last thing Canada needed was this unnecessary targeting of a minority group that had done nothing to provoke it.” We will be introducing amendments at committee to fix the Bill.

I would like to remind your readers that problems around Canada’s voter identification laws began with the introduction of another Bill on voter identification: Bill C-31. That bill, supported by all parties except the NDP, introduced new rules around voter identification, which the government claimed would improve the integrity of the electoral process, despite the fact they couldn’t point to any actual examples of voter fraud.

Bill C-31 was a solution looking for a problem. The NDP was very concerned that this bill would create new problems, disenfranchise voters and infringe on Canadians’ right to privacy by revealing their birth dates to the political parties.

New Democrats believe that if this government was really concerned about voters’ rights, their priority would have been to fix existing barriers to democratic participation through measures that would increase voter turnout, instead of combating problems that never existed.

Paul Dewar, MP (Ottawa Centre)

House of Commons, Ottawa, Canada

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