moved for leave to introduce Bill C-297, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (voting hours).
Mr. Speaker, once again I would like to thank my hon. colleague, the member for Courtenay—Alberni for seconding the bill.
As all Canadians and this House know, we are about to embark on a very important exercise in electoral reform. This gives us and all Canadians a chance to reflect on and discuss our democracy and our democratic practices and make improvements.
What the bill would do is expand voting hours in British Columbia and across the country from 7:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night. The idea is to expand the opportunities for Canadians on election day to cast their ballots. Research shows that, when polls are closed at 7 p.m., as they are in B.C., or at 8 p.m., there are Canadians who work and cannot get to the polls. Therefore, by increasing the length of time on the day Canadians go to polls, we would increase voter turnout. That, after all, is the essence of democracy.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)