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News Releases and Media Advisories

Statement

Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Addresses Allegations of Wrongdoing
During the 41st General Election

OTTAWA, Thursday, March 15, 2012

Canadians are proud of their electoral system, and rightly so. They are also vigilant about preserving its integrity. Following recent media reports of alleged fraudulent telephone calls and other wrongdoing in the 41st general election of May 2, 2011, approximately 31,000 Canadians have contacted Elections Canada to share their concerns.

A national election is a massive undertaking that involves hiring and training over 200,000 temporary workers to serve more than 24 million electors in some 20,000 voting locations in every community across the country. We welcome feedback from electors, candidates, political parties and other stakeholders, and view it as an essential ingredient in our ongoing efforts to improve the administration of Canada's electoral system.

The Canada Elections Act strives to achieve a delicate balance between the need for accessibility and openness, and the necessary safeguards to ensure the integrity and fairness of elections. The legislation provides mechanisms to deal with allegations of irregularities or wrongdoing, including offences and penalties. When such allegations are raised, Elections Canada's responsibility is to review those matters and take action to address them.

Immediately following the 2011 general election, the Commissioner of Canada Elections deployed resources to investigate complaints of fraudulent or improper calls. Since then, over 700 Canadians from across the country have informed us of specific circumstances where they believe similar wrongdoing took place. I appreciate the interest that Canadians have shown in this matter and thank them for their continued collaboration.

The Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections examines all complaints concerning alleged offences under the Act and can draw on the necessary resources to conduct a thorough investigation. The Commissioner is currently looking at a range of issues related to the 2011 general election.

Like all law enforcement bodies, the Office of the Commissioner generally does not disclose information on its investigative activities in order to protect the presumption of innocence and privacy. This also ensures that investigations are carried out effectively while meeting the high standards of due process and impartiality that are required and expected in a free and democratic society. In this regard, I advise caution about drawing conclusions based on possibly inaccurate and incomplete information.

As I have previously indicated, I intend to submit a report to Parliament in due course. In the meantime, as an agent of Parliament, I would welcome the opportunity to appear before the parliamentary committee responsible for electoral matters to provide information on our administrative and investigative processes.

Elections Canada is an independent body set up by Parliament.

Information:
Elections Canada Media Relations
1-877-877-9515
or at www.elections.ca