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Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Responds to Bill C-23

Gatineau, Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • Mr. Marc Mayrand, Canada's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), appeared before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC) on March 6, 2014, to provide parliamentarians with his perspective on Bill C-23, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to certain Acts.
  • The CEO noted that the proposed legislation contains some improvements, such as an additional polling day as well as increased fines and penalties.
  • However, he expressed strong concerns regarding proposed changes that would disenfranchise Canadians, result in financial loopholes, and impose severe limitations on education and research initiatives aimed at increasing electoral engagement in Canada.
  • In particular, the CEO:
    • highlighted the negative impact on Canadians' right to vote of eliminating both vouching and the use of the voter information card as proof of address;
    • re-emphasized the pressing need for more investigative tools for the Commissioner of Canada Elections to ensure more timely investigations;
    • questioned the new financial provisions, such as the fundraising exemptions, that could alter the level playing field.
  • The CEO reiterated the importance of providing Canadians with an electoral system that is inclusive.

"In our attempts to improve the electoral system, we should not lose sight of our shared goal of ensuring the right to vote for all Canadians. Our democracy belongs to all Canadians, and should be accessible to all Canadians, and be seen as fair and trustworthy," said Mr. Mayrand. "I hope that the final bill reflects a broad consensus that secures the confidence of all electoral participants."

Please consult for additional information and statistics related to the impact of Bill C-23.

Elections Canada is an independent body set up by Parliament.

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