In January 2008, while working as an advisor to the Assembly of Kosovo, I wrote an article called ‘Imposing Legitimacy: The Dilemma of International Democratic Development’ for LawNow magazine. In it, I raised the question of how democratic institutions become legitimate in the eyes of a population.
Now, I’m asking a different question: How do democratic institutions lose their legitimacy?
Basically, I argued there are five prerequisites for democratic legitimacy:
A legal or constitutional basis for authority;
Impartial decision-makers (financial independence, security of tenure);
Transparency in decision-making;
Mechanisms for giving or withholding consent.
Bill C-23, the so-called Fair Elections Act, risks undermining each of these prerequisites for democratic legitimacy. It risks stripping Elections Canada of its democratic legitimacy and endangering the future of free and fair elections in Canada.
The legal basis for elections in Canada is the Canada Elections Act. Changes to this law must be taken very seriously and be based on the widest possible public and expert consultation. When I was director of parliamentary affairs for the minister of Democratic Reform in the Paul Martin government, we took this so seriously that we asked a parliamentary committee to initiate legislation on the Elections Act. While the committee did not actually do so, the request itself shows that the Elections Act is no ordinary piece of legislation.
The Conservative government is ramming Bill C-23 through Parliament with little public consultation. When Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand testified that this bill would deny some Canadians the right to vote, the Conservatives interrupted his testimony several times. Over 150 Canadian university professors have written an open letter criticizing the Bill, as have thousands of citizens. But none of this is being taken into consideration in reviewing the bill.
The last time I worked in a country where a government used its majority in Parliament to ram through changes to an election law without public input was in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011. I never would have expected this in Canada.The Fair Elections Act is a global disgrace (via shychemist)
Bad news: A major vulnerability has been disclosed for the technology that powers encryption across the majority of the internet. That includes Tumblr. Our team took immediate action to fix the issue, but you should still take some time to change your password, not only here but on any other sites you visit.
You should also strongly consider enabling two-factor authentication. It’ll go a long way to ensure that no one besides you can access your account. Thanks, and take care.