Scrap the Fair Elections Act said Chilliwack protesters

The rally on Vedder Road mirrored similar events across Canada on March 25, calling on the Harper government to scrap Bill C-23.

Gwen O'Mahony

A rally Wednesday in Chilliwack against the federal Fair Elections Act saw “democracy dogs” barbecued in front of MP Mark Strahl’s office.

The lunchtime protest on Vedder Road mirrored similar rallies across Canada on March 25, calling on the Harper government to scrap Bill C-23.

It’s seen as a threat and politically motivated tactic to restrict voting in the next election. The rallies turned into a national day of action, with a petition signed by thousands.

About 60 people of different political stripes converged in the parking lot of the local MP’s office to ask the government to “kill this bill!”

Rally organizer Wayne Froese read out a letter signed by Canadian university professors who believe the Act, if passed, would “damage” the heart of the country’s democracy, which is the right to vote in federal elections.

Fairness and transparency were big concerns.

The move to dispense with voter ID cards and vouching, was roundly criticized, and the ID requirements are seen as unnecessarily strict, that could become a barrier to voting.

It would also prevent Elections Canada from publicly reporting on election fraud, and cancel Elections Canada’s research and public education programs.

“I believe our best defense against it, and our best action, is to create further awareness,” said Froese. “This is a right and it needs to be addressed.”

Louis de Jaeger, president of the Chilliwack-Hope Federal Riding Association, argued the “Orwellian sounding” Fairer Elections Act has more to do with “gaming” the system, and providing Harper Conservatives with political advantage, than it has to do with fairer elections.

The changes favour the sitting party, but not opposition parties or democracy in general, he said, and the Harper government even used its majority this week to defeat amendments proposed.

“This bill needs public opposition and should be challenged at every level,” De Jaeger said.

Former Chilliwack MLA Gwen O’Mahony noted the non-partisan nature of the rally and thanked the participants for showing up and “caring about Canadian democracy.”

Bill C-23 doesn’t do anything to enhance the democratic process, which is its failing, “especially when we’re facing historic lows of voter turnout,” she said.

Rallies were held at more than 25 MP offices with a petition signed by more than 80,000 Canadians. Called “Let People Vote!”  it was a national day of action supported and facilitated by, the Council of Canadians, and Canadian Federation of Students.

“People are worried that the changes to the elections law are politically motivated,” said Jamie Biggar, Executive Director of “We’ve seen politicians use similar tactics in the US to disenfranchise people if they think they will vote for the other side.”

A recent poll shows that most Canadians oppose the provisions in the Unfair Elections Act that would eliminate the voucher system, prevent Elections Canada from publicly reporting on election fraud, and cancel Elections Canada’s research and public education programs.

Just Posted

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for Agassiz-based SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

CRA scam the email edition targeted the Mounties in Chilliwack

Fraudsters claim to be from the Canada Revenue Agency but the CRA never operates this way

COLUMN: Student voices give me hope for the future

Student Caleb Pennington wanted to know why something was taken off the agenda. So he asked.

Chilliwack newcomers celebrate multicultural community

Local Immigration Partnership helping new Canadians and refugees settle into new life

VIDEO: Rubik’s Rumble a hit at Chilliwack middle school

Students fill gymnasium for first annual tournament focusing on popular puzzle toy

VIDEO: NatureKids “critterscape” at Cheam Lake Wetlands

A group of children helped keep invasive species in check at the local park

Anti-pipeline protestors block Kinder Morgan tanker near Seattle

Protest was spurred on by the 28 anti-Kinder Morgan activists arrested in Burnaby

Some surprises in new book about B.C. labour movement

“On the Line” charts history of the union movement back to the 1800s

B.C. cyclist races to first win of the season in New Zealand

Casey Brown captures Enduro title by more than two minutes at Crankworx Rotorua

Horse found stuck in muddy field rescued in Maple Ridge

Maple Ridge firefighters set up a pulley system to drag the horse to solid ground

VIDEO: Two Maple Ridge contortionists have sights set on Cirque

The Pair competed at the Viva festival in Vegas and are now auditioning for spot on America’s Got Talent

Notorious Russian troll farm also took swipes at Canadian targets

Targets included oil infrastructure and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

Most Read