Archive - Government Supports Amendments to Fair Elections Act
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Ottawa, ON (April 25, 2014) – Today Democratic Reform Minister, Pierre Poilievre, announced the Government would support amendments to the Fair Elections Act, in anticipation of the House Committee on Procedure and House Affairs’ clause-by-clause review of the bill that will take place next week.
The amendments supported by the Government include:
- Voter Identification: allowing electors to vote with two pieces of identification that prove their identity and a written oath as to their residence, provided that another elector from the same polling division who proves his or her identity and residence by providing documentary proof also takes a written oath as to the elector’s residence. This new measure will allow those who do not have identification proving their residence to register and vote on polling day. To ensure the integrity of the vote, new verification of potential non-compliance will be done after polling day, and an audit of compliance with registration and voting rules will be done after every election;
- Public Information and Education Mandate of the Chief Electoral Officer: specifying that the Chief Electoral Officer may communicate with the public, but where he advertises to inform electors about the exercise of their democratic rights, he can only do so on how to be a candidate, when, where and how to vote, and what tools are available to assist disabled electors. Further, the Chief Electoral Officer may support civic education programs for primary and secondary schools;
- Appointment of Central Poll Supervisors: retaining the current appointment process for central poll supervisors;
- Fundraising Exception to What Constitutes an Election Expense: eliminating the proposed exception as to what constitutes an election expense in the case of expenses incurred to solicit monetary contributions from past supporters;
- Advance Rulings and Interpretation Notes: amending the provisions to require that the Chief Electoral Officer consult the Commissioner of Canada Elections before issuing an advance ruling or interpretation note, providing more time for the Chief Electoral Officer before he has to issue an advance ruling or interpretation note while reducing the consultation period with the registered parties and giving advance rulings precedential value for the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commissioner with respect to similar activities or practices carried out by other political entities;
- Retention Period for Scripts and Recordings of Voter Contact Calls: requiring calling service provider to keep copies of scripts and recordings for three years instead of one;
- Commissioner of Canada Elections: allowing the Chief Electoral Officer and Commissioner of Canada Elections to exchange information and documents and allowing the Commissioner to publicly disclose information about investigations where it is in the public interest;
- Third Party Spending Limit: increasing the spending limit for elections with a longer writ period than the minimum 37-day period;
- Foreign Third Parties: adding a clear prohibition against a third party unable to show a link to Canada incurring more than $500 in an election;
- Threshold for Investigations: clarifying the intent of giving the Commissioner the unrestricted ability to begin investigations by removing the bill’s proposed evidence threshold before the Commissioner may begin an investigation;
- Limitation Period: clarifying the intent of having no limitation period for offences under the Canada Elections Act that require intent;
- Chief Electoral Officer’s term: making the term of the Chief Electoral Officer non-renewable;
- Voting at the Office of the Returning Officer: clarifying that all those who apply for a special ballot and vote at the office of the returning officer must prove their identity and residence as they would at a polling station.
- Report of the Director of Public Prosecutions: clarifying that the annual report of the Director of Public Prosecutions must contain a section prepared by the Commissioner of Canada Elections through which the Commissioner reports on the activities of his office, without providing information about specific investigations.
The Government is also supporting other minor amendments of a technical nature.
For further information (media only):
- Gabrielle Renaud-Mattey
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of State (Democratic Reform)