Le Blogue Broadbent

Harper government's "leap of logic" to justify voter suppression

Poor Pierre Poilievre.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's point man on the government's proposed elections act has just been called out, again, by yet another expert.

The smack down on Saturday by Harry Neufeld has got to really hurt, though.

That's because Poilievre, minister of state for democratic reform, cites a Neufeld report at every opportunity to justify two draconian measures in the bill: prohibiting voter information cards as a valid piece of ID and ending "vouching" for voters.

Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand estimates that putting an end to vouching would disenfranchise more than 100,000 people, especially aboriginals, seniors and students.

Neufeld, the former Chief Electoral Officer in B.C. who was commissioned by Elections Canada to probe voting irregularities during the 2011 election, backed up Mayrand in an interview Saturday with CBC Radio's The House.

"I think Mr. Mayrand is absolutely correct," Neufeld told host Evan Solomon.

"And [with] the provision that no one is allowed to use the voter information card that is sent to every individual voter who's registered, I think it will disenfranchise more people in addition," he said.

"This is extremely problematic. We have constitutional guarantees that every Canadian has the right to vote."

Neufeld told Solomon that Poilievre makes a "leap of logic" when he uses his report to justify these measures in the bill.

"But it's very much his conclusion from reading — I think quite selectively — parts of my report," Neufeld said, emphasizing "there was no evidence of fraud whatsoever" in the cases he reviewed.

"I think any fair-minded person who reads that report would come to the conclusion that he has not been fair in his assessment of my findings."

Neufeld's criticism of Poilievre follows the release last week of an open letter to the Conservative government signed by 160 academics, containing another scathing analysis of the election bill.

That follow Mayrand's detailed and devastating critique of the act during parliamentary hearings.

Over to you, Minister Poilievre.

Photo: YouTube.