Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 37th General Election Held on November 27, 2000
A new kind of election
This report to Parliament gives me a welcome opportunity to highlight the changes that have taken place in Canada's electoral system and its management since the June 1997 general election.
The 2000 general election was the first held under the new Canada Elections Act and the first to make full use of the National Register of Electors. For these reasons, this event presented some characteristics that differentiate it from the two general elections and many other electoral events that I have administered during the 11 years that I have had the privilege of serving as Chief Electoral Officer.
This can truly be said to have been a new kind of election. It required a fundamental change in the behaviour of all participants – electors, political parties, candidates, returning officers and their staff, and the media, as well as Elections Canada. We all had to learn new approaches and new reflexes, and commit to a new level of engagement.
Now that the event is over, we are consulting the full range of participants in the electoral system as part of our post-election evaluation. This "post-mortem" reviews all the questions raised during the event and will give us the perspectives of all the participants. We already have some results from this exercise, but analysis of the data is not yet complete.
The operation of the National Register of Electors touches everyone involved in the electoral process directly and it is one of the main subjects covered in this report. It can be said that the Register generally met our expectations during the 37th general election. Its performance was in line with projections discussed during wide-ranging consultations with key stakeholders, between 1996 and 2000. We know that with experience, technological progress and the co-operation of our partners, we can aim for even better performance in the future. The feedback received to date indicates that the National Register of Electors is here to stay and that the necessary improvements can and should be made.
There are several other areas where further enhancements will be undertaken, while we continue to maintain a constant state of readiness to deliver electoral events. Once we have completed our consultations, we will initiate action and, later this year, we will submit our recommendations to Parliament. Some of these recommendations will involve legislative changes.
Integrity and openness go hand in hand with accountability. Elections Canada holds itself accountable to Canadians and Parliament through a number of statutory reports and other instruments, presented since the 1997 general election. I felt it would be useful now to present a comprehensive picture of what has happened since 1997, leading to this last event. Consequently, this report includes not only an account of our most recent activities, but also of key developments related to our strategic priorities. This report, now available on our Web site, will be widely distributed, so as to support accountability and generate useful feedback.
Some 166 000 election personnel worked to manage this last event, both at Elections Canada in Ottawa and in a multitude of communities across the land. Like them, I was and remain firmly committed to the participation of all Canadians in the electoral process, to a fair and inclusive system that is accessible to the entire Canadian electorate, and to the integrity and openness of an electoral process that is managed in a professional manner. I trust this report will adequately illustrate how this commitment has served Canada well.