For Immediate Release:
The Manitoba Government, at its own initiative and without consulting with the other political parties in Manitoba, is moving to completely rewrite election law in Manitoba.
Typically amendments to the elections law are suggested by Elections Manitoba, the independent agency charged with overseeing elections, and then discussed at an all-party committee meeting before changes are made.
Clearly the principles of democracy once held dear by the NDP have now been abandoned. The proposals before the legislature seek only to cement efforts to create a two party system in Manitoba.
“The New Democratic Party of Manitoba should rename itself the Non-Democratic Party of Manitoba,” said Green Party of Manitoba Leader James Beddome. “We are outraged that this stealth attack on a fundamental issue of fairness is brought about by the same stealth tactics the Federal Conservatives are using in Ottawa,”
Although on first glance, it appears that the intent of this bill is to avoid overlapping federal and provincial elections, Schedule A completely replaces the Elections Financing Act. The stated purpose of replacing the Elections Financing Act is to draft the law in more plain language.
The new act puts the issue of annual funding for political parties before an "independent allowance commissioner." The Green Party expresses some skepticism as to the neutrality of an “allowance commissioner” who will be appointed by Cabinet.
Beddome said, “Putting a person that is likely to be a friend of the Government in charge of the distribution of the funds to political parties is like putting a mouse in charge of the cheese factory!”
“There is no need to hurry this legislation through. The next scheduled federal and provincial elections are not until 2015. And if we want plain language legislation, then time should be given so that the changes can be discussed with all parties affected, including the public. This is completely unacceptable and undermines the democratic process. We will oppose this every step of the way,” said Beddome
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