The Harper government is having a hard time explaining why their election act proposes to muzzle Elections Canada.
The proposed act, considered an affront to democracy by Canada's Chief Elections Officer Marc Mayrand, stipulates the agency will not be able to encourage people to vote, including through marketing materials or ads.
That means Elections Canada kits for schools about civics and democracy will have to be scrapped, according to the agency.
(The act also makes it harder for youth and other under-represented groups to vote by tightening up voter ID rules and getting rid of "vouching." It also creates a huge spending loophole so political parties can spend more during campaigns.)
Pierre Poilievre, who is the lead on the file as minister of state for democratic reform, defended the end of Elections Canada's outreach program to students. Poilievre said it's time for the (neutral) agency to "focus on the basics" (where to vote), and leave it up to partisans (political parties) and others to do that kind of outreach work.
"It's not as though Elections Canada has an information monopoly on how to educate people on the democratic process," Poilievre told CBC's Power and Politics Monday.
Watch Poilievre spin this (and blame Elections Canada for low voter turnout) with a straight face: