Meeting Summary – Annual General Meeting – June 8, 2015
Closing Remarks by the Chief Electoral Officer
The CEO thanked ACPP members for their participation and noted that suggestions that members made during this AGM will be useful to EC.
In response to comments made during roundtable, Mr. Mayrand mentioned that our society requires more civic education. EC can contribute, but the primary responsibility lies with the provinces, since they have the lead in educational matters. The trend is to instill knowledge through civic education classes and to develop the curriculum for classrooms. EC will continue to work with the provinces and with educators to do this. The CEO noted that these educational efforts typically focus on people under the age of 18, but that efforts must also be directed to the 18–35 age group. This is because voter turnout has declined in the entire under-35 age group, which is a significant problem. It was noted that people often learn about politics through family discussions, but that parents currently lack enough understanding of democracy and elections to educate their children about these issues. The CEO agreed with ACPP members that there is still a lot to be done to remedy this situation. He noted that time must be invested in defining the issue before formulation of solutions can begin. For example, voter turnout has also been declining in many countries with proportional representation – therefore, there is more to the problem than simply Canada's type of electoral system.
The CEO also agreed that the regulatory burden on political parties and candidates is getting excessive; that was pointed out in the last post-election report to Parliament, and it is expected to continue. At one point, the burden could become so high that it undermines the accessibility and the rights of candidates.
The CEO brought up the issue of privacy, including whether electors' privacy should be a subject for future discussion.
In conclusion, the CEO noted that the ACPP has an ambitious forward agenda and list of discussion topics, and that EC would engage members following the election to establish priorities and timelines.
In closing, the CEO thanked the ACPP for participating in the meeting.