May 13, 2014 6:11 pm

Conservatives push through controversial overhaul of election rules

A voter casts a ballot in the 2011 federal election in Toronto on May 2, 2011.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

OTTAWA – The Conservatives have used their majority muscle in the House of Commons to pass a controversial bill that makes sweeping changes to election laws.

Bill C-23, dubbed the Fair Elections Act, passed by a vote of 146 to 123.

The bill was virtually universally panned by electoral experts when it was first introduced.

The Harper government modified or removed some of the most contentious provisions – including backing down on plans to eliminate vouching, muzzle the chief electoral officer and create a loophole that would allow rich, established parties to spend untold millions more during election campaigns.

But the changes weren’t enough mollify opposition parties.

The bill now moves to the Conservative-dominated Senate for approval.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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