Review of the Fair Elections Act, Bill C-23
In May 2013 a report commissioned by Elections Canada highlighted that more than 165,000 people seemed to vote improperly in the 2011 federal general election. This report was commissioned after a challenge of election results in the federal riding of Etobicoke Centre that made its way to the Supreme Court. The report states:
“This report is delivered to the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada to fulfill the commission mandate. Its contents and recommendations are expected to be given due consideration from senior management at Elections Canada as they set priorities and develop plans to prepare for the 42nd general election, scheduled for October 19, 2015, and for the elections that follow.”
Read CASA's review here.
The report also notes “legislative change within the next year is essential if the recommendations detailed in this report are to be made effective.” Marc Mayrand, Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer said in response to the report:
“Mr. Neufeld notes, and Elections Canada agrees, that there is insufficient time to fully implement new voting services model for the 2015 general election, assuming that Parliament were to agree to a new model. The magnitude of change required would pose significant risk and extensive testing will be essential to demonstrate that the new model works before adopting it on a national scale.”
The Chief Electoral Officer stated in his response to the Compliance Review that a new voting services model would address compliance issues by 2019 and that some immediate improvements to existing programs would reduce but not fully resolve compliance problems in the 2015 election.
The Fair Elections Act, Bill C-23, was introduced February 4th, 2014 by Hon. Pierre Poilievre, Minister of State (Democratic Reform). CASA is committed to ensuring that more young people participate in Canada’s democratic process and institutions. To that end, CASA has compiled a list of concerning sections and makes recommendations for changes that must be made to continue to encourage young people to vote.
The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) has reviewed the proposed amendments and the ongoing analysis of other organizations, specifically with an eye to ensuring that post-secondary students’ right to vote is not impinged upon. CASA has highlighted specific amendments which should be reviewed as they may disproportionately and unjustly affect students in upcoming elections.