A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, October 9, 2016

An Electoral Framework for the 21st Century

Marc Mayrand, the outgoing chief electoral officer, has apparently put together a number of suggested changes that he would like to see made to our electoral system. I can only say thet the eight highlighted by Kady in the Ottawa Citizen look pretty good to me........

“While it’s well worth perusing the full document when/if you have time, here’s a quick overview of the chief electoral officer’s most (seemingly) commonsensical recommendations, several of which, it’s worth noting, can also be found in Team Trudeau’s 2015 campaign platform, but have thus far failed to materialize in the House in legislative form:
  • Reverse the ban on using the Voter Information Card as as identification at the polls and loosen the new restrictions on attesting for electors without sufficient ID that were brought in under the Fair Elections Act.
  • Re-empower the chief electoral officer to launch public outreach and education programs, including those that specifically target “persons and groups most likely to experience difficulties in exercising their democratic rights,” as well as groups with a lower rate of voter registration than the general population.
  • Give the Commissioner of Elections the power to compel testimony – a recommendation that, the report notes, was first made in 2013 – as well as the authority to lay charges without the go-ahead from the director of public prosecutions.
  • Set a maximum length for an election period – the CEO suggests “45 or 50 days, for example,” and “consider” adding a new provision specifying that the writ be issued on September 1.
  • Look at switching from a weekday to a weekend polling day, which would allow the vote to take place on Saturday or Sunday
  • Give the agency the power to impose fines – or “administrative monetary penalties” – for certain violations of the rules – specifically, those relating to financing and communications – rather than rely on criminal sanctions
  • Give Elections Canada the authority to initiate “pre-registration” campaigns targeting 16 and 17 year olds “with a view to eventually including them” in the permanent electors list, as well as verify citizenship status of potential electors with the citizenship and immigration department.
  • Allow in-home and “curbside” voting for those who are unable to vote at their assigned polling station, whether due to mobility challenges or any other mental or physical disability that restricts their ability to enter a polling station (like, for instance, extreme scent sensitivity).
These suggestions have nothing to do with the way we vote but more to do with how elections are conducted and the role of Elections Canada in conducting said elections, something which after Harpers “Fair” Elections act we all know need updating desperately.

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Owen Gray said...

They sound like reasonable suggestions, Rural. And they would essentially reverse the Fair Elections Act.

Rural said...

But will anyone in government adopt these ideas is the question Owen.

Lorne said...

I especially like the idea of pre-registering 16 and 17-year-olds, Rural. The future health of our democracy rests in their hands, and could certainly revitalize the way civics is taught in high school.

Rural said...

It is important that our youth understand the importance of selecting our 'representatives' no matter how it turns out we do so, Lorne