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Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the September 17, 2007, By-elections Held in Outremont, Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot


Conduct of the 2007 By-elections

Launch of the by-elections

Three vacancies in the House of Commons precipitated the September 2007 by-elections.

Shortly before the issue of the writs, the Chief Electoral Officer held a teleconference call with members of the Advisory Committee of Political Parties to inform them of Elections Canada's plans for implementing Bill C-31. He also reviewed key initiatives for the by-elections, as well as how the agency would put into operation the new requirement for voters to prove their identities and addresses at the polls. Elections Canada plans to repeat this kind of briefing before all future elections and by-elections.

Writs were issued on July 28, 2007, directing the returning officers in Outremont and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot to conduct by-elections on September 17, 2007. A writ was issued on August 11, 2007, directing the returning officer in Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean to conduct a by-election on September 17, 2007.

House of Commons seat distribution

On August 11, 2007, the seat distribution in the House of Commons was:

Returning officers

The candidates

From the time the returning officers published the Notice of Election, prospective candidates in the by-elections had until 2:00 p.m. on August 27, 2007, to file their nomination papers. The candidates had until 5:00 p.m. on the same day to withdraw or make corrections to the name, address or occupation indicated on their nomination papers; none of the candidates withdrew before the deadline.

Elections Canada posted the names of candidates on its Web site as they were confirmed, and posted the final lists of confirmed candidates once nominations closed. To ensure that Canadians abroad and members of the Canadian Forces could exercise their right to vote, we also transmitted the lists of official candidates to Canadian diplomatic missions and consular posts through the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and to Canadian Forces bases through the Department of National Defence.

Electors wearing face coverings

To prepare for the by-elections, Elections Canada had to update its procedures to incorporate the new identification requirements and inform electors about them. Under the new procedures, electors who presented themselves at the polls with face coverings (e.g. for religious or cultural reasons) would not necessarily be required to remove their face coverings and show their faces before voting.

A teleconference was held on July 26 to inform the Advisory Committee of Political Parties about Elections Canada's approach. Regional meetings were also held in September to ensure that returning officers and assistant returning officers understood the identification requirements.

In early September, several media outlets raised questions as to whether electors would be required to uncover their faces in order to vote. Elections Canada issued a news release on September 6 to clarify the voter identification provisions, indicating that "there are several ways that electors can choose to prove their identity and residential address, some of which do not entail having to remove face coverings." Due to the ensuing public debate, the Chief Electoral Officer held a news conference on September 10 to clarify voter identification procedures.

Also, on September 13, the Chief Electoral Officer appeared before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to explain the agency's position.

On September 17, electors with face coverings were invited to uncover in a manner that was respectful of their beliefs. If they declined to do so, they were asked to take an oath that they qualified as electors before they could receive a ballot. Some 70 electors presented themselves at the polls with face coverings; of those, 17 uncovered, 50 took the prescribed oath, and 3 did not vote because they neither wished to uncover nor take the prescribed oath.

Throughout the day, Elections Canada closely monitored the conduct of the vote. The agency was satisfied that the vote proceeded in an orderly and peaceful manner.

Milestones of the electoral process

Table 1 is an overview of the milestones in the electoral process, from the issue of the writs to their return, for the by-elections held in 2007.

Table 1 – Key dates
Date Election calendar day Event
July 28 Day 51 Outremont and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot: issue of the writs; notice to persons entitled to recommend revising agents; voting by special ballot begins; local Elections Canada offices open to the public
August 11 Day 37 Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean: issue of the writ; notice to persons entitled to recommend revising agents; voting by special ballot begins; local Elections Canada office opens to the public
July 28 Day 51 Outremont and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot: Notice of Election published; candidates may file nominations
August 2 Day 46 Outremont and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot: preliminary election expenses limits for candidates released
August 12 Day 36 Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean: Notice of Election published; candidates may file nominations
August 15 Day 33 Revision of lists of electors begins
August 15 Day 33 Targeted revision begins
August 17 Day 31 Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean: Preliminary election expenses limits for candidates released
August 22, 23, 24 Days 26, 25, 24 Voter information cards mailed to all registered electors
August 27 Day 21 (2:00 p.m.) Nominations for candidates close
August 29 Day 19 List of confirmed candidates released
August 30 Day 18 Preliminary election expenses limits for parties released
August 31; September 4, 5 Days 17, 13, 12 Reminder cards distributed
September 6 Day 11 Revised lists of electors distributed
September 7, 8, 10 Days 10, 9, 7 Advance voting occurs
September 9, 10, 11 Days 8, 7, 6 Registration and voting by special ballot in acute care hospitals
September 10 Day 7 Final election expenses limits for candidates and parties released
September 11 Day 6 End of registration at 6:00 p.m.
September 14 Day 3 Official lists of electors distributed to candidates
September 17 Day 0 Election day; preliminary results by electoral district posted on the Elections Canada Web site
September 18 Day –1 Validation of results; validated results posted on the Elections Canada Web site
September 25 Day –8 Writs returned

Communicating with electors

At all electoral events, Elections Canada strives to promote awareness among electors about their right to vote, key dates in the electoral calendar, and voting rules and procedures. Each communications and outreach campaign is tailored to the geography and demographics of the electoral districts; key messages reflect changes to electoral law.

The approach to our communications and outreach activities for these by-elections was changed to incorporate new key messages. They informed and reminded electors that, in order to vote, they must prove their identity and address and that there were various ways to do so.

Advertising campaign

A key tool in our advertising campaign was the redesigned household reminder card that included the new voter identification requirements along with the complete list of acceptable pieces of identification. The new four-panel reminder card was distributed to all residences in the three electoral districts.

Our standard advertising campaign followed a mixed-media strategy using print and radio advertisements at key moments during the electoral calendar. Our usual advertisements, expanded from half a page to three quarters of a page to include information about the new identification rules, appeared in daily, weekly and student newspapers.

An additional 30-second radio ad was added at the beginning of the campaign. In all, three radio ads were broadcast:

Elections Canada assessed the impact of the new voter identification requirements. In broad terms, the findings indicate that the communications strategy was successful.

Specialized campaigns

Following our general practice, Elections Canada made special communications and outreach efforts to groups and communities thought likely to experience difficulty in exercising their right to vote, or not reached as easily by the general advertising campaign. The specialized campaigns also included information about the new voter identification requirements.

Youth

The large number of educational institutions in the three electoral districts made youth outreach particularly important, especially in Outremont, which houses the Université de Montréal, the École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Montréal (HEC Montréal) and McGill University. Community relations officers visited classes and contacted student associations to ensure that young voters were aware of the eligibility and residency requirements for voting. To vote in a by-election, electors must be resident in the riding at the start of revision, which was August 15, 2007. In consequence, many students were not eligible to vote in this by-election because of the timing of the fall academic session. Elections Canada also distributed information kits to student associations and registrars' offices.

To reach young people not attending university and to raise awareness among high school students of voting age, the community relations officers contacted school boards and youth employment services. They also placed posters in high schools and youth drop-in centres.

Ethnocultural communities

In Outremont, the ethnocultural community relations officer contacted community groups and university social clubs. Promotional material was posted on public bulletin boards and in other high-traffic areas. Voters could also find the pamphlet text on voter identification on the Elections Canada Web site in 27 heritage languages and the voter information guide in 26 languages. Of the two newspaper ads mentioned in the "Advertising campaign" section on page 18, the second was translated into 11 heritage languages and published in 17 ethnic newspapers in the Montréal area. Elections Canada also distributed information kits to 76 ethnocultural associations in Montréal.

Aboriginal communities

In Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean, the Aboriginal community relations officer visited the local reserve, recruited polling day staff and distributed Elections Canada material. On election day, Aboriginal Elders and young persons were appointed in two polling divisions as part of the Aboriginal Elder and Youth Program. They offered interpreting services as required, explained the voting process and answered questions. Elections Canada also distributed information kits to the regional office of the Native Alliance of Quebec.

Web


LOGO – Voter Identification at the Polls / Identification de l'électeur au bureau de scrutin

LOGO – Changes to the Canada Elections Act in 2007 / Changements à la Loi électorale du Canada en 2007

Two new sections on
www.elections.ca provided
information on voter identification.

Elections Canada created a special section on its Web site for each electoral district holding a by-election.

We also created two new sections, accessible from the front page, to provide information on changes to the Canada Elections Act and on identification requirements. In particular, the "Voter Identification at the Polls" section, which aimed to provide electors with a single-glance understanding of the new rules, attracted 5,083 visits over the course of the by-elections.

On election night, Elections Canada posted results on its Web site as they became available. The number of visits to Election Night Results was a record 20,282, up significantly from the by-elections in November 2006.

Media relations

To ensure that all media outlets were well informed of the by-elections, Elections Canada distributed a media information kit with the launch news release, profiles of the electoral districts, a calendar of key dates and backgrounders on topics ranging from the electoral process to the special ballot and the National Register of Electors. The kit also included information on contributions and expenses, for both parties and candidates. During the campaigns, Elections Canada distributed 23 news releases; these highlighted key electoral information at various points in the by-election calendar. All news releases were posted in the "Media" section of the Elections Canada Web site.

Elections Canada received 223 media calls, 65 of which dealt with questions related to electors with face coverings, and 35 interview requests on the same subject.

Public enquiries

Elections Canada's Enquiries Unit can be reached using a toll-free number; people who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a toll-free TTY number. During the by-election period, the unit's bilingual staff fielded 293 calls and one e-mail message from the public, and it provided documentation about the electoral process. Of the calls received, 17 were related to face coverings (14 in Outremont and 3 in Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot). We also received 27 faxes on the matter of face coverings.

Electors could also make use of the Web-based Voter Information Service, for information such as where to vote, and other details available through the voter information card.

Communicating with candidates, official agents and auditors

Returning officers supplied various materials to candidates, official agents and auditors for the September 2007 by-elections. The returning officers met with the candidates and/or their representatives to make sure that they had all received the same information. These meetings provided an opportunity to explain and discuss voting procedures, election day rules and the election officer positions for which candidates could recommend applicants. Elections Canada also asked returning officers to discuss with the candidates and/or their representatives a number of new electoral initiatives that we were testing during the by-elections; for details, see page 21.

Revising the lists of electors

Elections Canada used information from the National Register of Electors to produce the preliminary lists of electors. The revision period ran from August 15 to September 11, 2007.


* Due to the timing of the event relative to the beginning of the fall academic session, limited targeted revision could be conducted while students were on campus, and revising agents visited only the student residences. No revisal desks were set up on campus.

Table 2 lists the types of revision transactions.

Table 2 – Lists of electors – revision transactions during the by-elections
Electoral district Outremont Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot
Electors on the preliminary lists, including Special Voting Rules (SVR)
66,132
62,778
76,533
Moves between electoral districts1
1,176
328
562
Electors added2
733
598
515
Moves within the electoral district3
995
1,851
2,112
Other corrections4
860
978
944
Electors removed from lists5
3,600
678
1,657
SVR Group 1 updates6
–3
24
52
Electors on the final lists
64,438
63,050
76,005
  1. Electors who moved into the electoral district before the beginning of the revision period but were not included in the last release from the National Register of Electors made before the by-election was called.
  2. Electors who did not appear on any lists at the beginning of the by-election and were added during the event.
  3. Electors who appeared on a list for their electoral district at the beginning of the by-election but at the wrong address. These figures also include administrative changes made by the returning officer to elector records during the event.
  4. Electors who appeared on a list of electors with a correct address and requested a correction to their name or mailing address during the event.
  5. Electors who appeared on a list of electors but were removed for one of the following reasons: the elector was deceased; the elector asked to be removed; the elector had moved; the individual was not qualified to be on the list (for example, less than 18 years old or a non-citizen); or the elector had a duplicate record on the same list. This figure also reflects elector records removed as a result of elector moves to another electoral district during the event and duplicates removed during the preparation of the final lists of electors.
  6. Indicates the increase in the number of Group 1 electors registered under the Special Voting Rules (Canadian electors temporarily residing outside Canada, Canadian Forces electors and incarcerated electors) during the event.

Testing new initiatives

Several initiatives that we tested in the November 2006 by-elections were repeated in September 2007.

Each of these initiatives was well received in both the 2006 and 2007 by-elections; Elections Canada plans to employ them again in the 40th general election.

Accessibility for electors with special needs

Elections Canada has improved a voting template that allows voters with visual disabilities to feel where to mark the ballot. This template is the result of consultations with various associations representing persons who are blind or visually impaired. The September 2007 by-elections marked the first use of the improved template, which we expect to use at all polling stations in the next general election, along with a large mock-up of the ballot.

Ordinary polls and advance polls

Electors could vote at ordinary polls from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on election day. Electors could also vote at the advance polls, which were open on September 7, 8 and 10 from noon to 8:00 p.m. Table 3 lists the types of polling sites.

Table 3 – Types of polling sites1

Outremont
Facility type Ordinary polling sites2 Advance polling sites
No. % No. %
Apartment building
4
17
Church hall
3
13
1
33
Community centre
4
17
1
33
Educational facility
10
43
1
33
Hospital
1
4
Royal Canadian Legion
1
4
Total
23
100
3
100

Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean
Facility type Ordinary polling sites2 Advance polling sites
No. % No. %
Apartment building
1
2
Commercial site
3
6
Community centre
24
51
10
77
Educational facility
3
6
Municipal or township hall
8
17
2
15
Recreation centre
3
6
Other
5
11
1
8
Total
47
100
13
100

Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot
Facility type Ordinary polling sites2 Advance polling sites
No. % No. %
Apartment building
1
3
1
8
Church hall
2
5
1
8
Commercial site
1
3
Community centre
23
62
8
62
Hospital
1
3
Municipal or township hall
3
8
1
8
Recreation centre
4
11
Seniors residence
2
5
1
8
Other
1
8
Total
37
100
13
100
  1. Because the figures have been rounded, there may be some discrepancies in the totals.
  2. Excludes mobile polls.

Elections Canada provided a number of mobile polls to assist people in seniors residences, long-term care facilities and other institutions. Furthermore, to ensure that all polling stations were accessible, level access ramps were built at six polling stations, at a total cost of $10,090. Tables 4 and 5 show the types of polling stations and their accessibility.

Table 4 – Types of polling stations
Electoral district Ordinary Advance Total
Stationary
Mobile
Outremont
156
3
7
166
Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean
167
10
15
192
Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot
200
9
13
222

Table 5 – Polling site accessibility (excluding institutions visited by mobile polls)
Electoral district Total sites Readily accessible Required access ramp Percentage accessible
Outremont
24
18
6
100%
Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean
47
47
0
100%
Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot
43
43
0
100%

Special Voting Rules

As in any election, the options of voting by mail-in ballot or voting at the local Elections Canada office under the Special Voting Rules (SVR) were available to electors. Canadians abroad could obtain information about how to cast their ballots by contacting any of the diplomatic missions and consular posts of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, or by visiting the Elections Canada Web site. Members of the Canadian Forces – whether based in Canada or abroad – were informed of their voting rights by the Department of National Defence. When the writs were issued, special ballot voting kits were sent to all Canadian Forces electors and electors residing outside Canada whose names appeared on the lists established for the electoral districts of Outremont, Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot.

Elections Canada, through its hospital voting initiative, ensured that electors unexpectedly hospitalized in acute care facilities during the by-elections were able to register and vote by special ballot. Registration and voting in acute care hospitals took place on September 9, 10 and 11.

The 2002 Supreme Court of Canada decision in Sauvé v. Canada (Chief Electoral Officer) determined that all incarcerated electors, regardless of the length of term they are serving, may vote in federal elections. In a by-election, this includes incarcerated electors whose address for voting purposes is located in one of the electoral districts in which the by-election is being held. This address cannot be the institution where they are incarcerated.

Table 6 shows the number of registrations for voting by special ballot, by group and category.

Table 6 – Registrations under the Special Voting Rules
Groups and categories of electors under the Special Voting Rules Number of ballots issued
Outremont Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean
Group 1*
Members of the Canadian Forces
47
110
247
Incarcerated electors
0
0
14
Electors temporarily residing outside Canada
88
3
3
Group 1 subtotal
135
113
264
Group 2**
Electors temporarily outside their electoral district
12
10
11
Electors voting in their electoral district
622
333
787
Group 2 subtotal
634
343
798
Total number of registrations for electors voting by special ballot
769
456
1,062

* Electors in the three categories registered under Group 1 of the Special Voting Rules are not included in the local lists that are revised by the returning officer during an event.
** Electors in the categories registered under Group 2 of the Special Voting Rules are included in the local lists of electors.

Voter turnout

Table 7 shows the numbers of ballots cast and the overall voter turnout.

Table 7 – Number of ballots cast, by voting method and voter turnout*
Electoral district Outremont Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot
Number of electors on final lists
64,438
63,050
76,005
Ordinary polls
21,132**
87.6%
25,161**
85.2%
28,612**
88.1%
Advance polls
2,325
9.6%
4,001
13.5%
3,054
9.4%
Special Voting Rules ballots
661
2.7%
365
1.2%
804
2.4%
Rejected ballots
175
0.7%
265
0.9%
534
1.6%
Total valid votes
23,943
99.3%
29,262
99.1%
31,936
98.4%
Total votes cast
24,118
29,527
32,470
Voter turnout (September 2007 by-elections)
37.4%
46.8%
42.7%
Voter turnout (2006 general election)
60.8%
62.1%
66.4%

* Because the figures have been rounded, there may be some discrepancies in the totals.
** Includes electors who voted at mobile polls.

By-election results

On election night, each returning officer's Event Results System (ERS) was linked to Elections Canada's central computer. At the end of the count at each poll, the deputy returning officers called in the results to the local Elections Canada office, where a staff member entered the numbers into ERS and transmitted them to the media and to Elections Canada in Ottawa for posting on the Elections Canada Web site. Ballots cast under the Special Voting Rules by incarcerated and Canadian Forces electors, and by Canadians voting outside their electoral districts, were counted at Elections Canada in Ottawa during the week before election day and on election night.

Table 8 identifies each candidate by political affiliation and shows the number and proportion of valid votes obtained.

Table 8 – Valid votes obtained, by candidate

Outremont
Candidate Political affiliation Place of residence Occupation Valid votes obtained Percentage of valid votes (%)
Amirizian, Alexandre Canadian Action Party Longueuil Student
45
0.18
Angeles, Romain Independent Montréal Tutor
46
0.19
Baig, Mahmood Raza Independent Montréal Journalist
78
0.32
Coulon, Jocelyn Liberal Party of Canada Montréal Professor
6,933
28.95
Duguay, Gilles Conservative Party of Canada Val-David Diplomat
2,052
8.57
Gilson, Jean-Paul Bloc Québécois Outremont Psychoanalyst
2,618
10.93
Gourd, François Yo neorhino.ca Montréal Poet
145
0.60
Leduc, Jocelyne Independent Saint-Hippolyte Student
61
0.25
Millette, Régent Independent Laval Professor
32
0.13
Mulcair, Thomas New Democratic Party Beaconsfield Lawyer
11,374
47.50
Pilon, François Green Party of Canada Montréal Self-employed
529
2.20
Turmel, John C. Independent Brantford Engineer
30
0.12
Total
23,943
99.94

Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean
Candidate Political affiliation Place of residence Occupation Valid votes obtained Percentage of valid votes (%)
Boily, Jean-Luc Green Party of Canada Saint-Prime Promoter
499
1.70
Boulanger, Louise Liberal Party of Canada Saint-Félicien Businesswoman
2,795
9.55
Dubois, Éric New Democratic Party Chicoutimi Community organizer
675
2.30
Houde, Céline Bloc Québécois Roberval Nurse
7,830
26.75
Lebel, Denis Conservative Party of Canada Roberval Mayor
17,463
59.67
Total
29,262
99.97

Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot
Candidate Political affiliation Place of residence Occupation Valid votes obtained Percentage of valid votes (%)
Barré, Bernard Conservative Party of Canada Saint-Hyacinthe Vice-president of operations and recruitment
11,965
37.46
Caumartin, Jean Liberal Party of Canada Beloeil Lawyer and economist
2,376
7.43
Sansoucy, Brigitte New Democratic Party Saint-Hyacinthe Administrative assistant
2,538
7.94
St-Onge, Michel Canadian Action Party Gatineau Information officer
61
0.19
Tétreault, Jacques Green Party of Canada Saint-Dominique Teacher
1,169
3.66
Thi Lac, Ève-Mary Thaï Bloc Québécois Saint-Hyacinthe Executive assistant
13,443
42.09
Vanasse, Christian Willie neorhino.ca Saint-Hyacinthe Author
384
1.20
Total
31,936
99.97

Returning officers validate the results as soon as possible after election day; in all three ridings, validation was done on September 18.

The official voting results for the September 2007 by-elections, including poll-by-poll results, are now available on the Elections Canada Web site at www.elections.ca under General Information > Official Reports > Elections Canada's Official Reports.

Adaptations

In accordance with subsection 17(1) of the Canada Elections Act, the Chief Electoral Officer may adapt any provision of the Act to deal with an emergency, an error, or an unusual or unforeseen circumstance. Subsection 178(2) also authorizes the Chief Electoral Officer to adapt the Special Voting Rules to make them applicable to by-elections. During the 2007 by-elections in Outremont, Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot, the Chief Electoral Officer used his authority under these provisions for the following reasons:

Evaluation: new voter identification requirements

After election day, Elections Canada assessed the impact of the new voter identification requirements. We commissioned Environics to integrate results from various data collected during the event. Data sources included a tally sheet of identification documents used by voters; post-election telephone surveys, carried out by Createc, of 2,746 persons eligible to vote and 1,112 election officers; and 1,800 interviews with electors, conducted by Impact Research, to assess our advertising and communications campaigns. These results are available on the Elections Canada Web site at www.elections.ca under Electoral Law, Policy and Research > Research Documents.

In broad terms, the findings indicate that the implementation of the Bill C-31 identification requirements went well. Some of the key findings of this evaluation were:

  • More than 9 in 10 voters reported their attitude to the new identification requirements as positive; 2 percent characterized their attitude as "very negative."

  • Three percent of voters felt that voting took "a lot longer" as a result of the new identification requirements.

  • Our communication efforts worked well in Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot and Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean, but slightly less in Outremont, where lower recall rates were observed.

  • More than 9 in 10 voters expressed that they felt very well informed about the new identification requirements before going to the polls; in contrast, poll staff expressed a somewhat less positive view of voters' level of understanding of the requirements.

  • Virtually all those who went to the polls reported having proper identification on arrival; 6 percent reported a specific problem with identity verification.

  • About one third of voters considered using their voter information card as identification, although the card clearly states that it is not an identification document.

  • About 8 in 10 voters used a single photo identification showing name and address, most often a driver's licence. Most of the remainder used two documents with no photo, both showing name and one showing address. One percent of electors swore an oath and were vouched for by another elector.

  • Almost all election officers felt that the overall process of voter identification went well, and two thirds felt it went very well. Two thirds of election officers did not personally encounter any specific problems related to voter identification.

  • About two thirds of deputy returning officers never had to refuse a ballot because of an identification-related issue, and 15 percent had to do so more than once. Based on the tally sheets filled out by deputy returning officers to track identification documents used by voters, about two in one thousand electors (0.2 percent) could not satisfy the requirements. Our survey of electors indicated that 0.5 percent reported having left the polling station without voting because they could not satisfy the new requirements.

Elections Canada expects to use these results to guide its communications approach in future electoral events; however, because electors in Quebec have been required to show some form of identification in the past few provincial elections, their expectations – and consequently their reactions – may differ from those in other provinces.


Enforcement of the Canada Elections Act

The Commissioner of Canada Elections has received 13 complaints stemming from the by-elections in Outremont, Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean and Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot. All but one have been closed.

Candidates' election expenses

Candidates in the September 2007 by-elections had until January 17, 2008, to file their electoral campaign returns. There were 24 confirmed candidates in these by-elections; 15 filed within the original filing deadline, and 9 requested and were granted filing extensions beyond the date of this report.

Any candidate who is elected or who received at least 10 percent of the valid votes cast is eligible to receive election expenses reimbursements equal to 60 percent of paid election expenses and paid candidate personal expenses. Any candidate who submits a return is eligible for an audit subsidy equal to the lesser of $1,500 or 3 percent of the candidate's election expenses; the minimum is $250. This subsidy is paid directly to the campaign auditor.

Of the 24 confirmed candidates in the September 2007 by-elections, 7 were eligible for election expenses reimbursements. As of January 24, 2008, no final reimbursements had been paid; given the January 17, 2008, filing deadline, this is normal. Initial reimbursements paid for these by-elections totalled $88,099. As of January 24, 2008, no audit subsidy payments had been made; this is also normal.

No third parties registered for the Outremont, Roberval–Lac-Saint-Jean or Saint-Hyacinthe–Bagot by-elections.