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Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the September 11, 2000 By-elections held in Kings–Hants and Okanagan–Coquihalla


Foreword

This report to the Speaker of the House of Commons describes the federal by-elections held in the electoral districts of Kings–Hants and Okanagan–Coquihalla on September 11, 2000, and the administration of my Office since the publication of the last report, on the by-election of May 15, 2000.

Both by-elections proceeded efficiently and successfully, as I conclude in my report. Communications, revision and voting were all conducted without any untoward incident. By-elections in Canada frequently result in smaller voter turnouts than general elections, and these two were no exception. The by-election turnout was 39.5 percent in Kings–Hants and 40.3 percent in Okanagan–Coquihalla, compared to 65.7 percent and 65.1 percent, respectively, in the 1997 general election.

During the past four months, Elections Canada has been exceptionally busy preparing for the changes required by the new Canada Elections Act. The Act received royal assent on May 31, 2000; our implementation planning went so smoothly that I was able to publish a notice in the Canada Gazette on September 1, stating that preparations for bringing the Act into operation had been completed, and that the new Act was in force as of that date. A summary of the main changes appears in this report.

Our plans for keeping the National Register of Electors up-to-date continue on schedule, and I am particularly pleased that we have signed a data-sharing agreement with the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Alberta. We believe that Elections Canada is at the forefront of those using modern technology for electoral administration, resulting in cost savings for Canadian taxpayers and greater convenience for Canadian voters. Both by-elections allowed us to try out several new computer applications, described in the report, with encouraging success.

Above all, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the dedication and imagination of Elections Canada's small staff, who work tirelessly on behalf of the Canadian electorate and Canadians of all ages. They have been tested severely during the past few months by election-preparedness activities, simultaneously handling the demands of the old Canada Elections Act and setting up procedures for the new Act. Few Canadians will see our staff during the long hours they put in, but all Canadians benefit from their energy and ideas. It is a privilege for me to work with them in the service of Parliament and the Canadian people.

Jean-Pierre Kingsley