Has US-Style 'voter suppression' made it to Canada's elections?





By John Ibbitson, The Globe and Mail, 10 April 2011

Most nonpartisan political observers are appalled by the idea of voter suppression because, if true, it would mean a political party is deliberately undermining the health of the body politic and weakening democracy. They blame the relentlessly negative tone of the Conservative campaign, though they forget that the performance of then-leader Stephane Dion and his highly unpopular Green Shift carbon tax proposal surely had more to do with it.

This time out, the Conservatives have once again bombarded viewers and listeners with negative advertising. The Grits have countered, belatedly, with negative ads of their own. Their problem, however, is that the Conservative base of around one voter in three is far more committed to their party than the rest of the electorate is to any party.

What we don’t know is whether there is an ulterior motive to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s incessant claims that, unless he wins a Tory majority, the Liberals will form a coalition with the NDP supported by the Bloc Québécois. Canadians objected strongly to such a proposal in 2008, which is why all three opposition parties deny having any such plans this time...