, 9 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
(1/9) Today's announcement of a new election task force should greatly concern Canadians. Only Parliament, through its lawmakers and its independent body, Elections Canada - not the government of the day - should decide the ground rules for our elections. #onpoli #cdnpoli
(2/9) Problem #1: this task force - whose terms of reference are not easily found - is comprised of 5 senior bureaucrats appointed by the Liberal government. For some reason, the task force contains no parliamentary officials, i.e. Elections Canada. #onpoli #cdnpoli
(3/9) Problem #2: one of the goals of the task force seems noble enough - to alert Canadians to foreign interference in the election. But it will also monitor domestic activity to determine if it "undermines" the election. #onpoli #cdnpoli
(4/9) So how will the task force determine if the election is being undermined domestically? Will it be regulating the political expression of the parties and community groups? Is it conducting investigations? #onpoli #cdnpoli
(5/9) Parliament just passed sweeping changes to the Canada Elections Act. It conferred new investigative powers on the Chief Electoral Officer. So why a need for a *new* entity? Maybe because, unlike the Chief Electoral Officer, it doesn't report to Parliament? #onpoli #cdnpoli
(6/9) What if the task force feels that, say, a trade union's online criticism of the government crosses an "information line"? Does the union get called out publicly? Is it investigated? No one knows. #onpoli #cdnpoli
(7/9) The Canada Elections Act, enacted and administered by Parliament, has robust mechanisms to address misleading advertising during elections. It already overregulates the speech of activist groups. CSIS/DND are already empowered to respond to foreign threats. #onpoli #cdnpoli
(8/9) If this task force was so important to preserve the integrity of our elections, why wasn't its creation discussed during the year of consultations that led to the amended Canada Elections Act? Why announce this 8 months before the writ drop? #onpoli #cdnpoli
(9/9) Best intentions can result in bad outcomes. The Liberal gov't has just created a new election-regulation bureaucracy accountable only to it, not Parliament. Used improperly, it may have a far greater impact on the election than any conduct it purports to prevent. #cdnpoli
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