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View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you for the warm welcome, Mr. Chair. I appreciate it, as always.
One thing you said, Ambassador, that I found quite striking and that seems to me prevalent everywhere, except for what we're facing now in this legislation, is that the system favours the voter. This to us is a default under section 3 of the charter, where it says that we have the right to vote. The government should do what it can to help enable that person to vote.
One of the big problems we have with the bill we're dealing with in Canada is that you're eliminating the permanent list of voters. You have probably heard now by testimony how difficult it is, when an election is called, to exercise your right to vote. It becomes problematic. We don't have Internet voting and don't have the immediacy that you have. In your voters list, you said, you must register by December 31 for the following year. In essence, is that the list that you use on a permanent basis for all elections?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
This list, in your opinion and the government's opinion, helps to favour the voter, as you said, and allows and makes it an easier process to participate in all levels of governing.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you.
One other thing is something you said that struck me as interesting. I haven't seen this yet. One of the problems the government cites is what we call “riding shopping”. If someone wants to vote in our election, which is “first past the post”, they can choose whatever riding they wish, which favours certain parties, or maybe not, but that's what they're leery about, and in many cases most of us would be.
But you said you can provide a familial link in order to vote. Can I provide a birth certificate, if I were a French citizen living in Canada to allow me to vote in the district in which I was born?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you very much.
I don't have a lot of time. I wish I could spend more time with you, but I want to move to Dr. Frank.
Considering the government is challenging Justice Penny's ruling, is it appropriate or not to be doing this Bill C-50? That's probably the easiest question you're going to get.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Is it appropriate to be proceeding with Bill C-50 at this time, given the fact of what the decision is and given the fact that the election is coming in October.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Given what was said by the French ambassador earlier, and listening to his testimony, do you feel that the system favours the voter in their case, their permanent list of electors? Would you agree with what the ambassador had put out there?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
I was surprised to hear that you had to hand in your driver's licence to do this, to sacrifice your own driver's licence in order to drive in the United States. This is one of the issues we're going with. As was pointed out earlier, and you quoted, this certainly is a solution in search of a problem.
You also said Bill C-50 falls within this inglorious tradition of what you called voter suppression.
The two things that are at play here, the permanent voters list as well as the time that it takes, in addition to your testimony, as Madame Latendresse also pointed out from being in Moscow, the disenfranchisement under Bill C-50 is now going to be astronomical as opposed to what it was before.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Given this, what is next for us? Is this particular legislation salvageable in any which way, shape, or form? Is there anything in this that you see that's palatable, acceptable, and maybe encouraging you to exercise your right under section 3 of the charter?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
That certainly is a powerful message.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I want to thank our guests in British Columbia, and here as well, for joining us.
This issue about provisional voting came up the last time. I think the concept is being put out there as a way of encouraging voting, but my opinion is that we're overlooking the obvious every time we bring up provisional voting. In other words, it may be a solution to some people in certain cases, but if you restore the international permanent list, it goes much further.
With provisional voting, as my colleague from Cape Breton would point out, all we're doing is moving the house in order to tighten up the clothesline. What we should be doing is saying that the international list should be created permanently. As Mr. Biggar pointed out, we want low barriers, high motivation.
I'm going to start with Mr. Biggar on this one. Obviously the high motivation is in your domain, given Leadnow and what it does to get people to vote. However, the lower barriers issue, which you pointed out in the beginning, is becoming very uncertain. We can no longer use the voter information card with Bill C-23.
I would assume—yes or no, Mr. Biggar—about the international list on a permanent basis....
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Mr. Biggar, do you come into contact with a lot of expat voters, people living outside of Canada?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Okay.
The other issue that was brought up by our two gentlemen in British Columbia was the one voucher per voter rule. The way you outlined it is that it becomes problematic once they're unable to establish their last place of residency. This is just one more impediment on top of an impediment that was not there before. Is that correct?
I'll let both of you answer that, Mr. Paterson and Mr. Biggar.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you, gentlemen.
I want to turn to Mr. Milner.
You said that we cannot find other countries that are not as restrictive—
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
There are very few. Okay.
Well, then, of the few that are restrictive...for instance, you said that in Australia there's a six-year thing but that they can re-register.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Can you do that at any time?
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
In your opinion, does Bill C-50 go in an opposite direction? It's certainly different.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Okay, Mr. Milner, Mr. Paterson, Mr. Biggar, thank you for your time.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Very briefly, to add to what has already been said, the one thing I want to emphasize is that it is certainly under the purview of this committee and is certainly very important to do.
We have seen this issue being played out in the media quite a bit. Every time we seek a response, all we get is talk about a particular policy eliminating the long gun registry. It's not about a long gun registry; it's about law. It's about how we deal with laws and about a process by which we can undo due diligence in this country. We can undo a process that we honour so much in this democracy.
I would like to see these witnesses come in to find out if anybody has raised any red flags to say this is not a good thing, for all these reasons. It seems to me that only one person did. We need to hear from the others, to allow them to be in front of this committee for the sake of saying what they went through and how this can be fixed, because I think a lot of people here are silent, and they probably don't want to be silent about this issue. I'd like to make sure we handle this in the right way and it doesn't happen again.
Thank you.
View Scott Simms Profile
Lib. (NL)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I don't think it would be too taxing of the committee to do this. We've heard what is going on from an assortment of witness testimony, which has laid the base for doing this. If they came in and focused on what their respective offices required, I don't think it would take long at all. I think it would make for an interesting report back to the House.
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2015-05-27 16:09
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for being here today to answer questions on chapter 5 of the report.
I'm going to go back to paragraph 5.37 for a moment. I don't feel that we had clarity with regard to the questions that were asked by my colleague Mr. Allen.
It's quite evident on page 12 of the report that with regard to the project delay, it was the result of a difference of opinion between the Canada Border Services Agency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada with regard to critical function. It did result in a three-month delay and an additional cost of $2.3 million because the agency had to extend a vendor contract.
I would like to know what the critical function was, and why did it take three months and $2.3 million to resolve this within the department. What was the difference of opinion that wasn't seen until it got to this stage?
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2015-05-27 16:12
It's stated here that you had known about the aging system since 2008. You knew it had to be changed.
In September when you launched the project, why did you not project that there was going to be a problem then? Why was this cost not incorporated at that time?
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2015-05-27 16:13
Paragraph 5.22 states, “The Treasury Board Policy on Investment Planning—Assets and Acquired Services requires that the Agency update the Investment Plan every three years, or when a significant change occurs.”
Since 2011, the Canada Border Services Agency has had significant change occur, yet its investment plan has not been updated. Why is the Canada Border Services Agency not following the Treasury Board requirements, especially when over $1 billion has been invested into the agency itself?
View Yvonne Jones Profile
Lib. (NL)
View Yvonne Jones Profile
2015-05-27 16:14
Well it was obviously a violation of Treasury Board policy.
Auditor General, I'd like to ask whether you know of other departments in other audits you've been doing where this Treasury Board requirement has not been met. I know it's outlined clearly here. I'm not sure if it has been in other reports.
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