Did You Know? – Fair Elections Act

The federal government is currently preparing to pass Bill C-23, an act called the “Fair Elections Act”. This bill has been decried by many legal professors, constitutional experts, and students groups as an attack on democracy. CASA, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, has called on the government to withdraw the bill completely, saying ?This act will place needless restrictions on Canadians and can do only harm to the democratic process.?

At issue is a procedure called vouching, which allows a registered voter the ability to vouch for another voter who might be missing critical identification at the election polls. This is seen to affect students in particular due to their attendance at schools out of their home riding, which would require them to provide proof of address to Elections officials to vote. Unfortunately, since many students also live with room-mates, such official documentation may simply be unattainable, rendering a very large number of post-secondary students without any ability to vote for the MPs in the riding where they spend the bulk of the year.

Additional concerns include the bill legalizing the “in-and-out” measures the CPC previously plead guilty to using to get around riding spending limits, and removing custody of the “robocalls” case from Elections Canada to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who is directly responsible to the Justice Minister instead of all Parliament.

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