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Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Following the Sherbrooke By-Election


This report to the Speaker of the House of Commons, following the by-election in the electoral district of Sherbrooke on September 14, 1998, provides details of the by-election and of Elections Canada's activities since the Port Moody–Coquitlam by-election in March 1998.

Although just six months elapsed between the two by-elections, there was a great deal of activity at Elections Canada, much of it looking toward the future of electoral administration in Canada. I refer in particular to the report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs on electoral reform, as well as initiatives arising from the committee's review, such as the committee of political parties established to advise the Chief Electoral Officer. We have already held three meetings, and I look forward to many more productive sessions.

In addition, Elections Canada continues to improve its administration of electoral events, helped by the information we gather through surveys and post-mortems after all such events.

The National Register of Electors is now into the maintenance phase of its existence. This year was the first time tax filers were asked on their tax returns to agree to Revenue Canada supplying their names, addresses, and dates of birth to Elections Canada to update the Register. Four out of five tax filers gave their consent, significantly higher than the 70 percent success rate projected.

Elections Canada continues to explore opportunities to share the data in the Register with other jurisdictions to produce lists of electors. This important area holds much promise to extend the cost savings of the National Register of Electors to other jurisdictions, to the benefit of all Canadian taxpayers. I have been working with my provincial and territorial counterparts on this use of the Register and will be continuing these discussions when Elections Canada hosts next year's Conference of Canadian Election Officials.

As we move closer to 2000, Elections Canada continues to prepare its computer systems for this event. As described in this report, a plan has been developed and is being implemented.

Elections Canada has also been busy over the summer developing a new strategic plan to guide our organization into the next century. Over the past five years, we have made progress in all the key results areas identified in our first strategic plan: quality service, professionalism, parliamentary support, community awareness, innovation and improvement, and international services.

When the strategic plan was first published in 1994, we made a commitment to review it periodically to ensure that it remains relevant to the evolving needs of our stakeholders. The new strategic plan is the result of such a review and sets out a vision to take Elections Canada into the 21st century.

Jean-Pierre Kingsley