Fair Elections Act [Bill C-23]

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Issues/Concerns/Proposals: Fair Elections Act [Bill C-23]

Videos: Fair Elections Act [Bill C-23]

  • Fair Elections Act [Bill C-23] Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqFL1UDjYPeqVFniC1uSi8u4
  • 09Apr2014 – In Committee from the Senate of Canada Legal and Constitutional Affairs
    • Part 1: The committee continues with its pre-study of Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act. Dr. Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, senior consultant to policy exchange at Constitutional Affairs, testifies from Oxford, U.K., via videoconference, on the role of the U.K. Electoral Commission and compares the British electoral model to the Canadian model. He calls vouching a peculiarly Canadian practice and calls for less political rhetoric in the debate over Bill C-23. (April 9, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqEjMV2rwyEdFlmp-HNxGXWx (8 videos)
    • Part 2: CIVIX president Taylor Gunn discusses his concerns about the impact of Bill C-23 on the Student Vote program run by his organization. The current draft of the Fair Elections Act would disempower Elections Canada from supporting the national program, which is a parallel election for students under the voting age. (April 9, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqHvmamZ9GRTelU7CuEUJQxQ (4 videos)
    • Part 3: Senators hear from academics as they continue with their pre-study of Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act. Appearing as individuals are Pauline Beange, lecturer from the University of Toronto; Paul Howe, professor from the University of New Brunswick; Paul Thomas, professor emeritus from the University of Manitoba; and Nelson Wiseman, associate professor from the University of Toronto. The witnesses touch upon many aspects of the bill but they mainly speak on the restructuring of Elections Canada, the role to educate and raise voter turnout, vouching and voter information cards, and party fundraising. (April 9, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqFMItZUeK_EyoVovM9f3i6l (12 videos)
  • 08Apr2014 – In Committee from the Senate of Canada Legal and Constitutional Affairs
    • Part 1: The committee begins its pre-study of the government’s Fair Elections Act with testimony from Pierre Poilievre, the minister of state for democratic reform. The controversial legislation has been met with widespread criticism. Among the measures in Bill C-23 are proposals to eliminate the practice of vouching for voters without proper identification, limit the public education outreach programs of the chief electoral officer, and move oversight of the elections commissioner from Elections Canada to the office of the director of public prosecutions. The Conservative government wants the legislation passed by the end of June to ensure the changes will be in place before the next federal election, which is scheduled to take place in the fall of 2015. (April 8, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqGo5kfOvVQ_9nnXRmx2VkxG (7 videos)
    • Part 2: The committee continues with its pre-study of Bill C23, the government’s overhaul of Canada’s election laws. Chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand and his predecessor Jean-Pierre Kingsley share their perspectives of the widely-criticized legislation. The proposed bill includes measures that would curtail Elections Canada’s powers. (April 8, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqE1DWKkTz7s5tLuGdqUsQhY (10 videos)
    • Part 3: Former auditor general Sheila Fraser testifies as part of the committee’s pre-study of Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act. She has called the proposed legislation an attack on democracy. Some members of the Conservative Party have questioned her credibility, as she is paid for co-chairing Elections Canada’s advisory board. (April 8, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqEKuOVO0oTGbtM9Bqi5wAZn (6 videos)
    • Part 4: Diane Bergeron, spokesperson for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and Kory Earle, president of People First of Ontario, testify on accessibility issues and offer their recommendations on how to improve voting for the visually impaired and for Canadians with low literacy levels. Also testifying is Gerald Chipeur, lawyer for Miller Thomson, who presents Supreme Court cases that justify Bill C-23 and doing away with vouching. (April 8, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqFfLWx82RQ9uvn0TZ9Nvjr0 (8 videos)
  • 01Apr2014 – In Committee from the House of Commons – Procedure and House Affairs
    • Part 1: The committee continues its hearings on the Conservative government’s Fair Elections Act. Diane Bergeron with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and Kory Earle from the organization People First of Lanark County offer their recommendations on how to improve Bill C-23 in order to address the needs of voters with disabilities. Senior CRTC officials Christianne Laizner and Manon Bombardier outline how the regulator will fulfill its new responsibilities if the bill is passed in its current form. The CRTC will have to establish and maintain a registry for voter contact calling services. (April 1, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqG66-81GTS5NPCIbX-IaJMF (11 videos)
    • Part 2: Yves Côté, the Commissioner of Canada Elections, testifies on Bill C-23 at the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. His predecessor, William Corbett, also appears. PrimeTime Politics – April 1, 2014 https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqHL88jlzv1vi8R5h1274rSV (10 videos)
  • 27Mar2014 – In Committee from the House of Commons – Procedure and House Affairs
    • Harry Neufeld makes an anticipated appearance at the committee to testify on Bill C-23. The former B.C. chief electoral officer is the author of a report on voting irregularities that is often cited by Pierre Poilievre, the minister of state for democratic reform, to justify the government’s controversial Fair Elections Act. Neufeld has publically stated that the minister is misrepresenting his report. Samara executive director and co-founder Alison Loat, Fair Vote Canada board member Nathalie Des Rosiers, Institute for Research on Public Policy president Graham Fox, and Civix president Taylor Gunn present their views on the election reform bill during the second hour of the meeting. (March 27, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqHq0H_3k6RgNzE4Sst-ECc8 (11 videos)
  • 27Mar2014 – Election Expert Harry Neufeld #cdnpoli #FairElectionsAct Media Scrum – Harry Neufeld, who wrote a report often cited by Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre in support of Poilievre’s proposed election changes, takes questions from reporters.
  • 27Mar2014 – Elections Expert Harry Neufeld Says #FairElectionsAct Must Be Amended #cdnpoli – The Harper Regime has cited an Elections Canada report to back its proposed changes to electoral laws, but the report’s author, Harry Neufeld, says it’s being misinterpreted and quoted selectively. The National reports the election reform bill must be amended. https://youtu.be/sHQj3vdb_AY
  • 27Mar2014 – Election Expert Harry Neufeld on #FairElectionsAct Reform Bill #cdnpoli #pnpcbc – ‘I think it’s been a very selective reading of my report and selective quoting as well,’ says Election Expert Harry Neufeld to Evan Solomon on Powers and Politics. https://youtu.be/DKN8As159Kg
  • 27Mar2014 – #Harper MP Pierre Poilievre Stands by #FairElectionsAct #cdnpoli #pnpcbc – Powers and Politics Evan Solomon interviews Harper Regime MP Pierre Poilievre on election expert Harry Neufeld’s accusation that the government has selectively quoted his report to justify proposed election reforms. https://youtu.be/AL7kfRVlDM8
  • 25Mar2014 – In Committee from the House of Commons – Procedure and House Affairs
    • Former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley, Northwest Territories Chief Electoral Officer David Brock and B.C. Chief Electoral Officer Keith Archer share their perspectives on Bill C-23, the government’s Fair Elections Act. All three witnesses express concerns about the proposal to eliminate the vouching process. (March 25, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqHzv8s4f2svegffYfqiqYMm (10 videos)
  • 25Mar2014 – Vouching Process Must Remain: Jean-Pierre Kingsley #FairElectionsAct #cdnpoli #pnpcbc – Jean-Pierre Kingsley, former Elections Canada chief electoral officer, explains to Powers and Politics’s Evan Solomon why vouching for voters ‘must be retained’ under the Canada Elections Act. https://youtu.be/xi6ER496vPE
  • 25Mar2014 – Protests Against #Harper’s Proposed new #FairElectionsAct #cdnpoli – Terry Milewski reports for The National with chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge about ongoing protests in Canada against the Harper Regime’s proposed changes to the Elections Act that would leave some Canadians unable to vote. https://youtu.be/iUVYAjUy1oE
  • 25Mar2014 – MP’s on #Harper’s #FairElectionsAct #cdnpoli Criticisms #pnpcbc – Harper Regime Loyalist Paul Calandra, NDP’s David Christopherson and Liberal Party’s Kevin Lamoureax debate on Power and Poltics whether the Harper Regime’s proposed changes to the Elections Act will aid or disenfranchise voters. https://youtu.be/1Zrcc-LqSsg
  • 25Mar2014 – Jean-Pierre Kingsley on #Harper’s #FairElectionsAct #cdnpoli Law Changes – Jean-Pierre Kingsley, former Elections Canada chief electoral officer, is questioned about his concerns regarding the Harper Regime’s proposed changes to Canadian election laws. https://youtu.be/8vh_j6lgGd8
  • 25Mar2014 – Jean-Pierre Kingsley Criticizes #Harper’s #FairElectionsAct #cdnpoli Reforms – Jean-Pierre Kingsley, former Elections Canada chief electoral officer, says he has serious concerns about the Harper Regime’s planned changes to the Elections Act. https://youtu.be/ny5tvSUVA4M
  • 21Mar2014 – #Harper’s Proposed #cdnpoli #FairElectionsAct Rebuked Globally #pnpcbc – Power and Politics Rosie Barton speaks with Andrew Reynolds, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was one of 18 professors from around the world who earlier this week signed an open letter about their concerns. Their letter came the week after an open letter to the Harper Government’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper by 159 Canadian political science and law professors. https://youtu.be/_nPGoDfJtQY
  • 13Feb2014 – In Committee from the House of Commons – Procedure and House Affairs
    • Pierre Poilievre, minister of state for democratic reform, defends the Conservative government’s proposed electoral reform bill (C-23). During the second part of the meeting, NDP MP David Christopherson presents his party’s motion to allow the committee to hold cross-country hearings on the controversial Fair Elections Act. (February 13, 2014) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKm1boxcMsqF9vTjCNiCk3lqDaCGURMj3 (4 videos)
  • 07Feb2014 – CBC’s Evan Solomon talks with Marc Mayrand re #FairElectionsAct – THE HOUSE: Evan Solomon’s discussion about the Harper Regime’s proposed Fair Elections Act with Marc Mayrand. Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer has several concerns about the bill, and what the changes being proposed would mean for the state of Canada’s democracy.
  • 04Feb42014 – Evan Solomon interviews Pierre Poilievre re #FairElectionsAct #cdnpoli #pnpcbc – The Harper Regime’s Minister of Reforming Democracy, Pierre Poilievre, opaquely and confusingly attempts to describe the benefits of their planned changes to electoral policy and Elections Canada with Evan Solomon on Power and Politics via CBC. https://youtu.be/IM2RuAZuw3w

Senate Pre-study: Fair Elections Act [Bill C-23]


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has the honour to table its


Your committee, which was authorized by the Senate on Monday, April 7, 2014, to examine the subject-matter of Bill C-23, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to certain Acts, introduced in the House of Commons on February 4, 2014, in advance of the said bill coming before the Senate, now tables an interim report.

Your committee held six meetings on this study. In total the committee heard from 21 witnesses including the Minister of State (Democratic Reform), the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commissioner of Canada Elections, along with many experts, academics, political parties and other stakeholders. The committee also received a number of written submissions.

Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, was introduced because it is important to protect the trust, participation, and reliability of the electoral system.

The committee recommends as follows:

  1. Specifically authorize communications between the Commissioner of Canada Elections and the Chief Electoral Officer.
  2. Include a requirement that attestations of name and address should be given to those who seek it (the elderly, homeless, Aboriginal peoples, etc.).
  3. Remove the provision on spending during an electoral period – the part that would exempt as an election expense the commercial value of services provided to a registered party for the purpose of soliciting monetary contributions only from individuals who have made at least one contribution of $20 or more to the registered party or to one of its registered associations, nomination contestants or candidates in the last five years.
  4. Extend retention of automated calling service call records to three years, from the one year proposed in Clause 76 of the bill, and make the contracting calling service company the repository for these records.
  5. Clarify Elections Canada’s new, reduced role that ends democracy promotion so it will not affect Elections Canada’s working relationship with Student Vote, a project of CIVIX, or other electoral educational programs in elementary and high schools.
  6. Encourage Elections Canada to place photographs of candidates on ballots, to address concerns of people who have trouble reading.
  7. Encourage Elections Canada to provide information to those with vision loss, such as information about the availability of braille ballots, and to conduct a pilot project in the use of specialized voting kiosks, described to the committee by the CNIB witness.
  8. Encourage Elections Canada to consider allowing verified electronic correspondence as a means of identification at polling stations.
  9. Both the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commissioner of Canada Elections should expressly be able to inform the public of problems they uncover in the electoral system.

Attached, as an appendix to the committee’s interim report, is a minority opinion from the Honourable Senators George Baker, P.C., Serge Joyal, P.C. and Wilfred P. Moore.

Respectfully submitted,






to the Sixth Report of the

Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs

(Subject-matter of Bill C-23)


1. Constitutionality of the Bill

Bill C-23 lacks sufficient safeguards to ensure that voters who are qualified to vote are not disenfranchised. The bill, therefore, is clearly unconstitutional in that it violates the right to vote set out in section 3 of the Charter and cannot be saved by section 1.

2. Voter Information Cards

The Chief Electoral Officer’s authority to authorize the voter information card as a valid piece of identification as one of the alternatives to a government-issued piece of photo identification should be restored. (Clause 48(3) amending section 143(2.1))

3. Vouching

The clauses of the bill which repeal the provisions that enable a voter without the prescribed pieces of identification to vote, or to register to vote, should be struck from the bill. (Subclauses 48(1) and (2), clauses 49, 51 and 52, subclauses 53(1), (3) and (5) and clause 54)

4. Commissioner of Canada Elections’ Power to Seek Court Order to Compel Witnesses to Provide Evidence

The bill should grant the Commissioner of Canada Elections the power to apply to a court for an order to compel witnesses to provide evidence to assist in an investigation of a violation of the Canada Elections Act.

5. Chief Electoral Officer’s Mandate to Communicate with the Public

The broad mandate that the Chief Electoral Officer currently has under section 18 of the Canada Elections Act to provide information to the public relating to Canada’s electoral process, the democratic right to vote and how to be a candidate, should be restored. Clause 7 of the bill should, therefore, be struck from the bill.

6. Treasury Board Approval to Pay Remuneration for Temporary Employees with Electoral Expertise

Clause 10, amending section 20(1), should be amended to strike out the requirement that the Treasury Board approve the remuneration and expenses of persons with technical or specialized knowledge engaged on a temporary basis by the Chief Electoral Officer.

7. Inability of Commissioner of Canada Elections to disclose any information relating to investigations

Clause 108 of the bill should be amended by striking out new section 510.1, which prevents the Commissioner of Canada Elections from disclosing any information relating to an investigation, except under certain limited circumstances.

source: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/412/lcjc/rep/rep06apr14-e.htm

Unsorted and Miscellaneous

Sandbox: Fair Elections Act [Bill C-23]

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(currently updating…)

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One thought on “#FairElectionsAct”

  1. Once again, the Cowardly Lion we call PM, had other people do his dirty work.

    Not being able to go directly to a camera and mike to call Sheila Fraser a liar, the alleged organized crime ring that is the Conservative Party of Canada refuses to even mention her name while answering questions about her statements. They speak only of Elections Canada or the non-existent hoard of Canadian citizens who are trying to steal your elections (as Harper claims, but what he’s really worried about is HIS election).

    But their B team (HarperPresss journalists, online information correction agents, cheerleader pundits) are out in full force: What does she know about elections anyway (oh she’s just one of the world’s most renowned experts at analyzing systems and spotting what is wrong with them)?

    Best yet is the suggestion she has been “bought and sold” because she receives an honorarium for sitting on the Chief Electoral Officer’s (who Tony Clement refers to as a “self-proclaimed” expert on elections when it is Stephen Harper himself who declared the current CEO to be an expert upon appointing him to the job in the first place — ??!?) blue ribbon panel on electoral reform.

    When she was named to the panel, it was clear she would receive an honorarium for it, and all said: “Good job! What a great person to have on the panel”. Now that she shares with Canadians the advice she would have given as a member of the panel, the inference is that she’s just another pig at the trough??! Someone explain to me how this works exactly??!

    “But she’s getting $65K to be on that panel!!”, they cry. Well, actually the deal is she COULD earn a MAXIMUM of $65K TOTAL OVER THE COURSE OF THREE YEARS (depending on the number of meetings).
    So far, she’s been paid $2,400.

    They are suggesting Sheila can be bought for about $200/month.
    $200 per month??!! Sheila must be livin’ it up, eh!

    Is this is THE Hill on which Harper has chosen to die? If so, the ONLY reason for this is because internal polling numbers are already showing he is toast and he MUST be successful in making sure that ONLY CPC hacks are the Polling Supervisors during the next election in order to “pull off” another win.

    In the battle of RoboBoy vs Sheila Fraser, Ms Fraser kicks Skippy’s bony arse up and down Parliament Hill.


    Tactic #2: Have former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal (who is also on the blue ribbon panel) try to create the impression that there is some kind of “reasonable” daylight between the Harper position and the rest of the world’s…


    Tactic #3: Suggest CEO Marc Mayrand “rigged” his panel to have people on it who ONLY shared his views when it has already been clearly established that pretty much EVERY expert on the issue in Canada, as well as group of experts from around the world, has declared this to be a bad bill (so Mayrand didn’t have to do MUCH “rigging” to get a panel that would speak Truth).

    This also suggests that Ian Binnie (former Supreme Court Justice), former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, and Preston Manning (who is also on the panel) are just: “yes men”. Not sure that that is smart move


    See how quickly Tactic #2 failed.

    After rolling over in one moment to support the Harper Party (even though their smear on Sheila was also inadvertently a smear on Segal too as he is a member of that panel) — and this AFTER Segal has seen up close the PM’s disdain for due process and due diligence?! — he then flops back over to the other side preaching “compromise” (a word the PM does NOT want to hear another Conservative say)

    Hugh Segal is an odd character.



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