Two numbers stand out in the heated debate over the Conservative government’s ironically named Fair Elections Act.
One hundred and fifty nine. That is the number of academics in law, history, and political science from across Canada – including experts from the University of Saskatchewan such as Michael Atkinson, director of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, and John Courtney, a member of the Saskatchewan electoral boundaries commission – who signed an open letter to the National Post this week that warned the proposed legislation would undermine democracy in Canada.
The other number is nine. That, according to pollster and political commentator Jaime Watt, is the percentage of Canadians outside Ottawa who are paying attention while their rights are being undermined.
Mr. Watt, who provides public opinions data in the weekly Political Traction segment of CBC’s Power and Politics, says that within the Ottawa bubble – the politicians, bureaucrats and pundits for whom politics is a staple – there’s intense interest in the bill now flying through Parliament.