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Results: 1 - 15 of 30
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Chair, can we discuss amendments BQ-3 and BQ-4 together? I know they pertain to two different clauses, but they both talk about exactly the same thing, prohibiting people from voting with their face covered. Amendment BQ-4 applies to clause 53.
I'm not sure whether that's standard practice here, but if we considered both amendments at the same time, it would save the committee having to listen to the same arguments over again.
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
I have to be there.
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
Yes, we could vote on both at the same time, since they're about the same thing. It would shorten the process.
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
Just mine. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'll keep it brief, as everyone's familiar with the topic.
In 2007, the CEO decided to change certain rules to allow people to vote with their faces covered. At the time, the Prime Minister said he seriously disagreed with the CEO's decision. Bills to amend the Elections Canada Act were later introduced, one by the Bloc Québécois and one by the Conservative Party. The Conservatives also mentioned it in the Speech from the Throne. In 2011, the current minister, Steven Blaney, put forward a private member's bill requiring electors to show their face when voting.
The Bloc Québécois just wanted to bring the federal legislation in line with Quebec's: anyone who goes to a polling station must show their face when voting. It's a bit like passports, where the photo shows the person's face. The same applies to driver's licences.
Since the Conservative government has always supported the measure, I would ask its members to vote in favour of my amendment, because I already know the other parties are against it. Of course, if we could bring them around this evening, that'd be ideal. Voting with your face uncovered is simply a matter of fairness to all voters.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I want to let you know that we just received a document only in English. I assume this committee's rules are the same as across Parliament. The member's amendment has been distributed to us only in English. I don't think a document can be distributed in only one official language. I'm not protesting against you.
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I will be brief.
I understand perfectly well what is happening, as I have been in Parliament for 10 years. I understand what Scott is doing, but they made an effort to print the document and to prepare it. So it should have been drafted in both official languages.
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I listened carefully to my colleagues' comments on section 18. The government responded to concerns and even criticisms raised about this provision by moving amendments. The government put a great deal of emphasis on advertisement, but there is still some work to be done here.
That's why my colleagues and I put forward much more substantial amendments that help the Chief Electoral Officer regain his powers. We want the Chief Electoral Officer to be able to implement information programs and thereby communicate to the public any information he deems necessary to ensure that elections are conducted properly and that people participate in them.
As for the amendment I am now talking about, I heard Mr. Scott add a paragraph (f). We did something very similar. We want the wording to be the following:
(1.1) the Chief Electoral Officer may
(a) implement public education and information programs to make the electoral process better known to the public, particularly to those persons and groups most likely to experience difficulties in exercising their right to vote.
We are also adding to that section another paragraph, which I will refer to as (b):
devise and test, in cooperation with the committees of the Senate and House of Commons that normally consider electoral matters—including studies respecting alternative voting means—an electronic voting process for future use in a general election or a by-election.
Let's be daring, let's be modern and help as many people as possible vote.
In closing, I would like to present an important point of view, that of the Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand. What he told us is actually very much in line with everyone's concerns. He said the following:
I am unaware of any democracy in which such limitations are imposed on the electoral agency, and I strongly feel that an amendment in this regard is essential.
We are responding to that statement by putting forward this amendment.
As this is probably the only amendment I will discuss this evening, I would like to hear my colleagues' opinion. So I am calling for a recorded division on this issue.
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
Mr. Chair, I am also happy to see you and the members of the committee again.
Mr. Scott, thank you for giving me a few minutes of your speaking time.
Mr. Mayrand, thank you for your testimony. It has allowed the committee to discover the Conservatives' new obsession: rooting out fraud. Since they came to power in 2006, I have never seen them as vocal as they are right now.
We all agree that fraud is and must remain the exception and that we must minimize the risks. However, we must make voting easier for anyone eligible to vote, which is your responsibility as Chief Electoral Officer. There is no such thing as zero risk.
Some Conservative colleagues said they had received three voter cards. I am 49 years old and I have been voting like everyone else since the legal voting age of 18, and I have never received three voter cards. Also, since I have been in politics, no one has ever told me about such cases. Having to show another piece of identification will probably solve a lot of the problems caused by multiple voter cards.
I know fraud can happen, but I think the government is using those cases as an excuse to introduce a bill tailor-made for the Conservatives in the next election.
Mr. Mayrand, this bill restricts your ability to consult with the public and political parties. The information that you see as your duty to provide before and during elections is very important and relevant. The bill also limits the power of the Commissioner of Canada Elections to conduct investigations.
Today's questions are about fraud. Will limiting your powers help root out fraud in any way?
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
My understanding is that the Conservative government's Bill C-23 is putting up barriers in the way of the commissioner of elections. They will not help you in any way to root out fraud.
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
Over the years, you and your predecessors have always made recommendations to improve the Elections Act. The political parties also participate in this exercise.
To your knowledge, have you previously heard of a government conducting an exercise like this, imposing its view of the Elections Act without you or your predecessors—
View André Bellavance Profile
Ind. (QC)
My time is already up? I don't often come here and I would like—
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