By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday, April 10, 2014
Pierre Poilievre accuses elections watchdog of wanting more power
Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre is fending off near-universal condemnation of his controversial elections overhaul by attacking the integrity, impartiality and motives of the chief elections watchdog.
Exactly four weeks after he launched Bill C-23 with a swipe at Marc Mayrand for “wearing a team jersey,” Poilievre accused the chief electoral officer of making “astounding” and untrue claims about the legislation in a desperate bid to pad his power and his budget.
“His recommendations really boil down to three broad requirements for him,” Poilievre told the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee Tuesday as it launched a “pre-study” of the bill before the House of Commons considers amendments or passes it.
“He wants more power, a bigger budget and less accountability.”
The broadside drew sharp condemnation in the Commons during the daily question period.
“Will the prime minister stand in this House and apologize to parliamentarians, and apologize to Marc Mayrand, for that cowardly, baseless attack on Canada’s chief electoral officer?” NDP Leader Tom Mulcair demanded.
Stephen Harper responded by congratulating Philippe Couillard, the Quebec Liberal party leader, for his victory Monday night in the provincial election.
Poilievre stood by his morning testimony at the Senate committee.
For his part, Mayrand refused to respond in kind.
Appearing later at the same Senate committee, he attempted to keep the focus on the sweeping changes he and other electoral experts fear will disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters, erode the independence of Elections Canada, slow down investigations into breaches of election law and make spending limits on political parties unenforceable. (Continued: CBC News)
OTHER MEDIA: Reprinted in the Edmonton Journal, National Newswatch, iPolitics