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Results: 1 - 15 of 43060
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2021-05-07 10:01 [p.6883]
When the House last took up debate on the motion, the hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton had six minutes remaining in her time for comments. There will be time for questions and comments after that.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-05-07 10:02 [p.6883]
Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here and to recap the brilliant first 13 minutes of my speech in the last six minutes that I have.
First of all, with respect to an election in a pandemic, the most important point is that Canadians do not want an election in a pandemic. The most recent Ipsos poll on April 21 said that Canadians, in the majority, thought that it would be unsafe and unfair. It is important to take their views into account.
The Prime Minister clearly wants an election, and this is why the Liberals are spending so much effort ramming these bills through, and talking about the stalling and the delaying. At the end of the day, we want to put the health and safety of Canadians over that partisan interest.
Ontario is in lockdown, and some of the other provinces are similarly struggling with COVID-19. We have hotel quarantines. It is not safe to fly. Certainly with all of those messages out there, it would be hypocritical to try to hold an election in a pandemic.
In terms of the bill and the changes that are proposed, let me just give a little tour through the things I like and the things that I do not like. We have a tried-and-true democratic process in Canada. Canadians have had confidence in this process. I think we should minimize the changes that are proposed. If we need to do something to protect the health and safety of voters and workers, those are good changes. If the change does not support that, I am not sure we want to tamper with a process we all have confidence in.
The three-day election period is a very good idea. This would give more time for people to get to the polls and allow for COVID spacing protocols.
I like the idea of the ballot boxes for mail-in ballots at the polling stations. This was tried in the B.C. election and was very well received. With the expectation that there would be huge numbers of mail-in ballots, this would help address the capacity. If people leave it late, and they are worried that Canada Post would not deliver their ballot on time, they could drop it off at the polling station.
I like the electronic request for mail-in ballots; that is a great, progressive thing. As I understand it, the methodology is going to be that if people request a mail-in ballot, they would then not be eligible to show up and vote at the polling station. They would be taken off the polling station lists. That is a good way to prevent double voting. That is not specifically in the legislation and is something that should be detailed. That is the right protocol. I have spoken to many returning officers, and they have already been trained on these changes and that is their current understanding.
There are things I do not like in this bill. There are additional powers for the Chief Electoral Officer to make changes. I do not take issue with some of the specific ones that are cited. However, there is an overarching sense that he could basically do whatever he wants for health and safety; that is a bit broad. I would like to see some oversight from each of the parties that are participating in the election. That would be a great way to make sure that changes that are warranted are approved by the oversight, and that would keep us on track.
I have difficulty with counting ballots after election day. We have always counted everything right up to election day. I think people have confidence in that. We do not want to do anything to open the door to even perceived influence in our elections. The interesting thing is that in the bill, it says it would only be done if the Monday of the election was a holiday. However, that is not the understanding of the many returning officers I have spoken to. They think they will count them if they show up by Tuesday. That is a clarification that needs to be made, both in the legislation and in the training.
The other thing, obviously, is to correct the English-French discrepancy. In the French it said that the ballots were going to be counted in the national capital, and in the English it said it would be done at the local returning office. My understanding is it is going to be done at the local returning office. I think that is the right place for it in order for them to be sure they have controlled who is requesting a mail-in ballot. They are sending out the kits, and they will then know who is not eligible to vote at the polling station. That is the way to go.
What is missing in the bill? There is a sunset clause in the preamble, but it did not make it into the bill. The government says these are temporary measures. How temporary? There is no description of what we are going to do about scrutineers and making sure that scrutineers are able to observe the process, especially with the COVID distancing.
The returning officers have been asked to prioritize vaccinations for the elderly or election workers. That is something that should be considered. It does not necessarily have to go in the bill.
A recommendation to change the hours of voting on Sunday will really limit the number of locations. We want those polling locations to have a lot of space so that they can do the COVID protocols, but if they start at 9 a.m. on Sunday, many churches will not participate. Putting that timing from 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. might allow more location flexibility.
There was a proposal for electronic voters lists so that at every polling station, somewhat like they do provincially, we would be able to see who is off the list. That would be good. What to do if what happened in Newfoundland occurs here? We definitely need to see that contingency plan and I did not see that in the bill.
It looks like that is the end of my whirlwind tour.
View Adam Vaughan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Adam Vaughan Profile
2021-05-07 10:08 [p.6884]
Mr. Speaker, I am glad the Conservatives are engaged in making it easier and safer to vote as we go through uncharted territory. I am very concerned about the idea of political parties having direct oversight minute by minute during an election, although it begins to explain why the Conservative were so nervous when the Reform Party was created.
I keep hearing Atlanta Republicans talking every time Conservatives start talking about the election. On that point, the member opposite raised the concern that we would have an election right now. Could she explain why her party is so worried about having an election right now? Conservatives have yet to vote confidence in the government in one single opportunity. In fact, they are the ones triggering the election every time they vote no in a confidence motion. I do not mind the debate disagreeing with the Liberals, that is their job, but if they are afraid of an election, I would think they would not vote to have one every time they put their hand up in the House of Commons.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-05-07 10:09 [p.6884]
Mr. Speaker, I want to clarify that we are not at all afraid of having an election, in fact, we look forward to the opportunity to get a strong Conservative majority in this country. However, Canadians need to be listened to and they have been clear that they do not want an election. The government tabled this bill in the House before the committee was even finished consideration of this, so it is clear Liberals are in a hurry and we all know why.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-05-07 10:09 [p.6884]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Sarnia—Lambton for her speech. I would like to know what she thinks about election day.
One of the recommendations that was made was to extend the polling period to three days, by holding the election not just on Monday but on the previous Saturday and Sunday as well. That would make it easier to find people to work at the polls, particularly young people, who would not be in school. It would also make it easier to access more potential polling locations. In order to facilitate social distancing, we might need more polling stations.
Would it have been useful to incorporate that recommendation into the bill?
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-05-07 10:10 [p.6884]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.
I think it is a good idea to have more polling stations. Since churches hold services on Sunday mornings, we might have to add some morning time slots, around 9 a.m., or afternoon time slots, around 2 p.m. Those are all things we need to think about in order to have a lot of choices regarding polling locations.
View Gord Johns Profile
NDP (BC)
View Gord Johns Profile
2021-05-07 10:10 [p.6884]
Mr. Speaker, indigenous communities face historical and structural barriers to voting. The pandemic has aggravated these challenges and obviously poses new ones. Does my colleague believe that Elections Canada should conduct special consultations with indigenous communities to ensure that voting is safe and accessible for them?
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-05-07 10:11 [p.6885]
Mr. Speaker, indeed, I sat on the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs and listened to testimony from some of our indigenous folks who did raise these concerns and do need to be consulted. That would be a great idea. We know that especially rural and remote places and places where we have had extreme outbreaks have specific concerns and those concerns need to be heard and addressed so that they have the ability to vote.
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, Bill C-19 is giving the Chief Electoral Officer full rein to make any changes to the way the election is conducted as he sees fit to support the health and safety of Canadian voters.
Would the Chief Electoral Officer be able to incorporate the changes that do not pass in the House of Commons that we do not like, if he has full reins? What other types of things can he make decisions on, given there would be no oversight?
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-05-07 10:12 [p.6885]
Mr. Speaker, I share the member's concern. Because it is not defined what exactly the electoral officer could do, for health and safety reasons, theoretically they could have the power to do anything at all. That is not good because, definitely as has been pointed out, there are some changes that would need oversight, so I would like to see something happen on that.
The other thing that would be difficult is that if they changed polling stations at the last minute and there was not enough communication, people could be confused about where to go to vote. It is important to make sure that does not happen.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-05-07 10:13 [p.6885]
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Sarnia—Lambton for really great insight into where she sees absences in the bill. I note, as she does, that most Canadians do not want an election in a pandemic, and that was the recommendation as well from the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, PROC.
Elections Canada has focused on what it is like on voting day, but I do not think it has paid adequate attention to what it is like in a campaign, particularly for candidates collecting their 100 signatures on their nomination papers, which, we all know, have to be very carefully vetted. My colleague, the leader of the Green Party of Saskatchewan, had a terrible time with her volunteers and how to collect what are basically paper forms when they are keeping six-foot distances and are masked. Has my hon. colleague given any attention to that part of the elections process?
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-05-07 10:14 [p.6885]
Mr. Speaker, that was one of the things that was written down on my paper that I did not quite get to. This is very important.
The signatures are supposed to indicate that there are enough people in the riding who want the person to present themselves as a candidate. That could be done electronically. Certainly these are the kinds of progressive moves that we would like to see to move into a digital age. I look forward to seeing that addressed, as well, when we take this to committee.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-05-07 10:14 [p.6885]
Mr. Speaker, the member had made reference to voting past Mondays. I just want to make sure that we are clear. From the government's perspective, ballots would only be counted on Tuesdays if it is after a long weekend.
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2021-05-07 10:15 [p.6885]
Mr. Speaker, that is exactly the clarification that is needed. However, my worry is that in discussion with several returning officers, who had already been trained on this legislation even before it had been discussed in the House or amended at committee, they are under the impression that they will be able to count any ballots that come in on Tuesday. Therefore, that retraining or clarification needs to go to them as well.
View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I think that we all recognize the importance of scrutineers and, like the member mentioned. there is nothing in this about scrutineers. What would the member's suggestions be on how we should perhaps amend it, or what we should be doing to ensure that we have those additional volunteers available?
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