Amending the Fair Elections Act

The government and opposition trade proposals

Adrian Wyld/CP

Adrian Wyld/CP

The Procedure and House Affairs committee begins this morning the task of reviewing the Fair Elections Act clause by clause and if you’ve ever wanted to see what 344 pages of amendments looks like, here are the compiled submissions of the Conservatives, New Democrats and Liberals, along with Green MP Elizabeth May and Independent MP Brent Rathgeber. (Note: Some of the proposed amendments seem to duplicate each other, possibly the result of MPs from different parties each submitting the chief electoral officer’s suggestions.)

Both the New Democrats and Liberals would restore vouching and eliminate the proposed ban on any use of the voter information card to substantiate one’s address, but the New Democrats have also included a proposal to adopt Manitoba’s allowance for the swearing of a written oath to establish identity.

Mr. Rathgeber’s proposals are designed to allow independent candidates to file as such before the writ period and begin collecting donations—thus limiting the advantage that party candidates currently enjoy over unaligned candidates.

Ms. May throws in proposals to create a voter contact code of conduct, new rules for the televised debates and a requirement that the minister shall engage in “extensive consultations” with the chief electoral officer with respect to any proposed amendments of the Elections Act.

The government has so far only signalled that it will support a specific set of amendments, so it remains to be seen how many, if any, of the opposition’s proposals will be accepted. The committee conceivably has to be done with the bill by the end of this week.