Elections Modernization Act

An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments

Sponsor

Karina Gould  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Canada Elections Act to establish spending limits for third parties and political parties during a defined period before the election period of a general election held on a day fixed under that Act. It also establishes measures to increase transparency regarding the participation of third parties in the electoral process. Among other things that it does in this regard, the enactment

(a) adds reporting requirements for third parties engaging in partisan activities, partisan advertising, and election surveys to the reporting requirements for third parties engaging in election advertising;

(b) creates an obligation for third parties to open a separate bank account for expenses related to the matters referred to in paragraph (a); and

(c) creates an obligation for political parties and third parties to identify themselves in partisan advertising during the defined period before the election period.

The enactment also amends the Act to implement measures to reduce barriers to participation and increase accessibility. Among other things that it does in this regard, the enactment

(a) establishes a Register of Future Electors in which Canadian citizens 14 to 17 years of age may consent to be included;

(b) broadens the application of accommodation measures to all persons with a disability, irrespective of its nature;

(c) creates a financial incentive for registered parties and candidates to take steps to accommodate persons with a disability during an election period;

(d) amends some of the rules regarding the treatment of candidates’ expenses, including the rules related to childcare expenses, expenses related to the care of a person with a disability and litigation expenses;

(e) amends the rules regarding the treatment of nomination contestants’ and leadership contestants’ litigation expenses and personal expenses;

(f) allows Canadian Forces electors access to several methods of voting, while also adopting measures to ensure the integrity of the vote;

(g) removes limitations on public education and information activities conducted by the Chief Electoral Officer;

(h) removes two limitations on voting by non-resident electors: the requirement that they have been residing outside Canada for less than five consecutive years and the requirement that they intend to return to Canada to resume residence in the future; and

(i) extends voting hours on advance polling days.

The enactment also amends the Act to modernize voting services, facilitate enforcement and improve various aspects of the administration of elections and of political financing. Among other things that it does in this regard, the enactment

(a) removes the assignment of specific responsibilities set out in the Act to specific election officers by creating a generic category of election officer to whom all those responsibilities may be assigned;

(b) limits election periods to a maximum of 50 days;

(c) removes administrative barriers in order to facilitate the hiring of election officers;

(d) authorizes the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to provide the Chief Electoral Officer with information about permanent residents and foreign nationals for the purpose of updating the Register of Electors;

(e) removes the prohibition on the Chief Electoral Officer authorizing the notice of confirmation of registration (commonly known as a “voter information card”) as identification;

(f) replaces, in the context of voter identification, the option of attestation for residence with an option of vouching for identity and residence;

(g) removes the requirement for electors’ signatures during advance polls, changes procedures for the closing of advance polls and allows for counting ballots from advance polls one hour before the regular polls close;

(h) replaces the right or obligation to take an oath with a right or obligation to make a solemn declaration, and streamlines the various declarations that electors may have the right or obligation to make under specific circumstances;

(i) relocates the Commissioner of Canada Elections to within the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, and provides that the Commissioner is to be appointed by the Chief Electoral Officer, after consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions, for a non-renewable term of 10 years;

(j) provides the Commissioner of Canada Elections with the authority to impose administrative monetary penalties for contraventions of provisions of Parts 16, 17 and 18 of the Act and certain other provisions of the Act;

(k) provides the Commissioner of Canada Elections with the authority to lay charges;

(l) provides the Commissioner of Canada Elections with the power to apply for a court order requiring testimony or a written return;

(m) clarifies offences relating to

(i) the publishing of false statements,

(ii) participation by non-Canadians in elections, including inducing electors to vote or refrain from voting, and

(iii) impersonation; and

(n) implements a number of measures to harmonize and streamline political financing monitoring and reporting.

The enactment also amends the Act to provide for certain requirements with regard to the protection of personal information for registered parties, eligible parties and political parties that are applying to become registered parties, including the obligation for the party to adopt a policy for the protection of personal information and to publish it on its Internet site.

The enactment also amends the Parliament of Canada Act to prevent the calling of a by-election when a vacancy in the House of Commons occurs within nine months before the day fixed for a general election under the Canada Elections Act.

It also amends the Public Service Employment Act to clarify that the maximum period of employment of casual workers in the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer — 165 working days in one calendar year — applies to those who are appointed by the Commissioner of Canada Elections.

Finally, the enactment contains transitional provisions, makes consequential amendments to other Acts and repeals the Special Voting Rules.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Dec. 13, 2018 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments
Dec. 13, 2018 Failed Motion respecting Senate amendments to Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (amendment)
Dec. 13, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments
Oct. 30, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments
Oct. 30, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (recommittal to a committee)
Oct. 29, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments
Oct. 29, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 29, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 29, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 29, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 29, 2018 Passed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 29, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 29, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 29, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 29, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 29, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 29, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 29, 2018 Failed Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (report stage amendment)
Oct. 25, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments
May 23, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments
May 23, 2018 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (reasoned amendment)
May 23, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-76, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make certain consequential amendments

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:30 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, what we have before us is very positive legislation that will have a positive impact on democracy in Canada.

I know from personal experience, whether it is the voter identification card or many other aspects of the legislation that the minister has brought forward, that it will assist in enabling more participation in elections.

A good majority of the recommendations that were brought forward in from the previous chief electoral officer have been incorporated. This is good legislation. Given the significance of the day, and many have commented that this might even be the last day in this beautiful chamber for the next 10 years, it is appropriate that we are debating this bill. It is positive legislation that will enhance Canada's democracy.

Could the member provide a comment?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:30 a.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is some history being made, an ironic sense of history, because the Liberals have put the bill under time allocation. When my friend sat in opposition, he said that it was a horrible thing for the then Harper government to do. Yes, it is historical, but it is also ironic.

I said to the government consistently that we needed to put all political parties under privacy laws. That was a recommendation from the Chief Electoral Officer, the Privacy Commissioner and the study that was commissioned by the minister herself of our spy agencies to prevent the threat of foreign hacks into our elections, as happened in the Brexit vote and the recent U.S. federal election. The Liberals ignored all of that and said they wanted to study that threat some more. What a great thing to do with a threat.

This place is historic and it does deserve our respect. Passing a bill this way, with this major flaw missing in the bill's entire composition, is an unfortunate way to commend this place to the renovation nigh for some number of years.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:30 a.m.
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NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to hear my colleague's thoughts on some of the remarks by the minister today. She made a lot of the fact that what had come back from the Senate was, effectively, a technical amendment, that all parties supported it and that it was a drafting error. She said that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs had been looking at this issue for a year or more.

As I understand it, PROC did not have this bill for a year. It is a huge bill with a lot in it. It was time allocated in the House and in committee. That kind of rushing to get things done, particularly after the Liberals sat on their hands for over two years in bringing forward some of these important reforms, is exactly the way we end up with technical errors in a bill. When the government tries to ram a huge omnibus bill through the House and committee, that is how these kinds of mistakes are made.

Now we are being told we need to move this through the House quickly. Could my colleague give us a little perspective on the process that has gotten us here?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:35 a.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, how we got here is the problem. The Liberals sat on the bill for hundreds of days and sat on the previous version of the bill for hundreds more days, having wasted almost three years in the process. Elections Canada gave a deadline over 200 days ago for the legislation to pass, so now not all of this bill will be incorporated. That was the problem.

One would think, after the Liberals betrayed their promise on electoral reform, the very next thing they would do to undo the unfair elections act by the Harper government would have been to get on with it, the urgency of now, but they did not.

Now we have the Senate fixing a democratic bill for the House that was passed. It is a shame, unfortunate and entirely due to the lack of any sense of responsibility or urgency on the part of the government.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to rise in the House today to discuss Bill C-76, the elections modernization act, with my esteemed colleagues.

This bill would be a generational change to the Canada Elections Act. Many of the changes proposed in this bill are long overdue and would fulfill long-standing recommendations from the Chief Electoral Officer to adapt the administration of Canada's federal elections to a modern age.

Bill C-76 contains measures on four important themes. First, the bill seeks to make the electoral process more transparent to Canadians. Second, it aims to enhance the accessibility of elections to all Canadians. Third, it would update the Canada Elections Act to adapt to the ways in which our elections have changed. Fourth, it seeks to strengthen the security and integrity of Canadian elections.

I now wish to discuss the themes in greater detail to remind my colleagues of what exactly the bill proposes to do, and how. With the introduction of fixed election dates in 2007, elections can begin in earnest well before the official writ is dropped. To address this, Bill C-76 would introduce a pre-election period. When all political entities know that an election is likely to be held on the third Monday of October in an election year, they are able to spend large sums of money in the medium term right before an election with no regulatory oversight until the drop of the writ. This new pre-election period would introduce limits on political parties and third parties in the months leading up to the writ period.

Bill C-76 would also introduce new requirements on third parties, including spending limits for the pre-election period, reporting on a greater number of activities and the need to register with Elections Canada when spending more than $500 on partisan activities or election advertising. Additionally, new reporting mechanisms for third parties to occur during the election campaign, rather than after, would ensure Canadians have a clearer look at how these entities spend money before they vote.

The bill would also limit the actual election period to 50 days, which would help us avoid a long-drawn-out campaign like in 2015. Combined with the elimination of a pro-rated increase for spending limits, this bill would save taxpayers money. This bill would also help make the electoral process more accessible for Canadians.

Great care has been used in determining groups of Canadians who may face barriers when exercising their right to vote, including electors with disabilities, electors who have trouble producing identification, electors who are living abroad and electors in the Canadian Armed Forces. New measures in Bill C-76 would aid these specific groups in exercising their franchise, along with improving general accessibility for all Canadians.

The bill would reform many of the provisions allowing for people to vote outside of the polling station, and would redefine what can constitute an accessible polling place. For people who may have trouble producing appropriate identification, Bill C-76 would reintroduce provisions of vouching for an elector's identity or residence. Additionally, the Chief Electoral Officer would be able to approve the voter identification card as proof of residence.

There are appropriate protections in place for these changes, so Canadians would be assured that the security of the election would not be sacrificed. Additionally, changes would be made to allow Canadians who have been living outside of Canada for over five years to vote. Once again, the bill would make the electoral process more accessible for all Canadians. This would include candidates and young Canadians.

Bill C-76 would introduce new expense reimbursements to provide support to candidates with families and candidates with disabilities, or those who may care for someone with a disability. These changes come from the recommendations of the Chief Electoral Officer, and should simplify the administrative hoops that candidates are required to jump through in order to run their campaigns.

Additionally, the bill would enable the Chief Electoral Officer to establish a register of future electors. There are an estimated 1.5 million Canadians aged 14 to 17 who would be able to register with Elections Canada. Once they reach the age of 18, they would seamlessly be transferred to the register of electors and be ready to exercise their right to vote.

I also want to mention that I will be splitting my time with the member for Guelph.

The register of future electors would be totally secure, separate from the established register and completely voluntary. This register would be an excellent way to engage young Canadians and harness interest in politics.

Regarding the administration of the election, Bill C-76 also makes changes that would have an impact throughout the entire delivery of the election. In the past, there was a degree of prescriptiveness, which was necessary, in the Canada Elections Act. However, this prescriptiveness has evolved from a necessity to a detriment. The bill would give the Chief Electoral Officer greater ability to organize the election in a more efficient and fair manner. These changes would impact polling-place procedures and address a number of issues causing long lines at the polls.

Last, Bill C-76 would bolster the security and integrity of our elections. The bill would make it more difficult for third parties to use foreign money during elections without facing penalties. I would also note that there are significant changes to the Commissioner of Canada Elections in this bill. The commissioner would now be a part of the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer as has been the case through most of our commissioner's history. This relocation would be accompanied by a new compliance mechanism, an administrative monetary penalties regime, which would allow the commissioner to more efficiently allocate resources and would provide him or her with a mechanism to enforce the Canada Elections Act without invoking criminal penalties. The commissioner would also be given the ability to compel testimony, which would streamline his or her investigation of offences against the act.

This is only a rough outline of what Bill C-76 would accomplish. Canadians enjoy a high degree of confidence in our elections, which is especially important in these fractious times. We are convinced that Bill C-76 would help retain this high level of confidence in our elections.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:40 a.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, I welcome my friend to the debate around this bill. It is very important, of course, and we have all recognized that its passage is likely one of the last bills, if not the last bill, passed out of Parliament.

We were just discussing with some of the committee members on the privacy and ethics committee that they have completed a large study that supplemented the study that the democratic institutions minister herself asked for from our Canadian spy agency, about the threats to our elections. The minister knows this but for Canadians watching, the parties all collect an enormous amount of information about individual Canadians: voting preference, gender, income and all sorts of things to best understand the voter. Parties pursue voters to try to get them to vote a certain way and we can understand why parties want to do that. That is the name of the game. The member's party, after the last election, congratulated itself about how good it was at collecting that data.

Here is the problem. That data is not falling under any restrictions or laws in terms of its protection from foreign actors or from individuals trying to hack that data, as was done with the Democrats and probably the Republicans and as was done in the Brexit scenario with Cambridge Analytica and all the rest.

This bill would do nothing to protect that privacy of Canadians or protect our democracy from that foreign influence from bad actors, domestically or internationally. Is that protection not something we should put in, if we have the research and the study and information available that there is a real and present threat to our democracy? Why do a democracy bill and omit that important piece, if not for partisan interests?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his work on this committee and on this piece of legislation. I would like to point out that the NDP and my colleagues across the way have been very supportive every step of the way when it comes to the passage of Bill C-76. They were enthusiastic to see the voter identification card being placed back into this legislation. They were happy to see the so-called Fair Elections Act be reversed through this piece of legislation. I am grateful for all the hard work they have done in supporting this legislation.

I understand the worry of my colleague. All has not been lost. I know the minister and our government take foreign interference very seriously and will look into this issue. This bill has made steps toward that. No foreign actors would be allowed to participate financially in our elections and also for all those who are advertising on platforms such as Facebook or any other platforms, all would be made transparent. These are big steps toward transparency in our elections and also in deterring those foreign actors from—

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Doug Eyolfson Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Mr. Speaker, one of the reasons that change was made to the identification requirements of the so-called Fair Elections Act was to prevent people with insufficient identification voting fraudulently in elections.

I would like to ask the hon. member this. Has there been any documented instance in Canadian history of any significant voter fraud that has had any influence on an election?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Mr. Speaker, there has been a lot of misinformation and fear raised about this issue. Of course, on all aisles of this House, we want our elections to be safe and integral. However, as a member of the procedure and House affairs committee that passed this piece of legislation and went through over 300 amendments, we failed to see any instances where this was reported. The Chief Electoral Officer also said on record that this was not a concern that he had seen in any past election.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I find it ironic that the last question from a Liberal member to his own colleague seems to disregard the case law on this very fact of voting, voting fraud and voting irregularities. He should speak to his friend from Etobicoke, because there is a leading Supreme Court case on this called Opitz v. Wrzesnewskyj. I can say the case name in this House I think. In that case, the Supreme Court of Canada determined there were issues related to irregularities and fraud. At paragraph 43 of the decision it equated them.

I will quote the Supreme Court of Canada for that member, which states:

In associating the word “irregularity” with those words, Parliament must have contemplated mistakes and administrative errors that are serious and capable of undermining the integrity of the electoral process.

In many ways, fraud or serious irregularities with an election undermine the democratic process. Therefore, I would ask the member this. By enhancing more voting from people with no connection to Canada after many years, and by allowing the voter identification card to be a substitute for the 30-plus types of identification for use, is the government not enshrining more irregularities into the electoral process?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I welcome that question so I can clarify the misconception that is being put out there by the Conservatives.

The Chief Electoral Officer has said that there was no significant hike in any voter fraud. Also, disenfranchising over a million people from being able to vote is very serious. On this side, we would much rather that people have the ability to vote in our fair election process than disenfranchising them because of one case that may have happened out there.

Therefore, there is no serious threat of voter fraud. The voter identification card does not replace the need for any other ID. Rather, it is one of two IDs that would be required. Voters would still require photo identification, as well as something with an address. This provides that proof of address. Therefore, it is not the ID needed alone to vote. I feel that is the misconception that has been put out there. Let us have people vote and have their voices heard. This is Canada after all.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to take the floor today to continue the debate on Bill C-76, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other acts and to make certain consequential amendments, also known as the elections modernization act.

I am speaking on behalf of my constituents in Guelph who are keenly interested in the changes we are putting forward. Guelph has been a centre for electoral fraud in other elections, so they want to see us take the steps necessary to ensure there are fair elections, especially in my riding of Guelph.

I have participated in debates on this bill in other stages in the House and I am very pleased to be able to weigh in after the Senate has had a chance to look at the bill and we are approaching the final periods of debate in this place.

Bill C-76 does many things that would modernize our electoral system, including making it more secure, more transparent and more accessible. The bill builds on recommendations made by the Chief Electoral Officer following the 42nd general election. It was also informed by the study of his recommendations by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, which I was pleased to sit in on for some of those meetings.

It is noteworthy that the bill implements over 85% of the Chief Electoral Officer's recommendations, and also of note is that the parties were in agreement with our coming forward with what we have in front of us today.

To set the stage for my comments, I would like to quote the former Chief Electoral Officer in his report:

Over the years, amendments to the Act have added new requirements and new rules, with little regard to the overall burden placed on electors, candidates, parties, volunteers and election workers. In the last decade, changes have been made without taking into account the rapidly shifting technological context; we now need to evaluate whether there are better ways to achieve the same results as in the past.

Those words of our former Chief Electoral Officer frame our discussion today. They are a good illustration of the importance of modernizing our electoral process to bring it into the 21st century.

That is why by implementing the recommendations, Bill C-76 would make the electoral process more efficient for all involved while continuing to protect the integrity of our elections. This includes changes that will affect the candidates. I would like to go through some of those measures, which should be of particular interest to the members of the House.

The Chief Electoral Officer indicated that many aspects of the existing nomination process reflect a view of candidacy that is simply out of step with modern approaches. For example, the requirement for a witness to file the nomination documents suggests that the candidate is only reluctantly accepting the nomination. Bill C-76 proposes to modernize the process for prospective candidates.

First, the changes to the Canada Elections Act proposed in Bill C-76 would allow either the candidate or a witness to file nomination papers. This change corrects an anachronism and at the same time respects tradition by allowing the candidate to choose who is best placed to file these important documents. While on the subject of filing the nomination papers, I would also note that Bill C-76 would make the necessary legislative amendments to allow Elections Canada to develop an electronic portal to allow the documents to be filed electronically.

Since all those present in the House have been candidates, we can all appreciate how these changes will facilitate the nomination process and bring it into the 21st century by taking advantage of available technologies.

Another key change in Bill C-76 that would affect candidates is the removal of the $1,000 deposit requirement for prospective candidates. In late October 2017, a court in Alberta held that the candidate nomination deposit was unconstitutional. The government did not appeal the decision and Bill C-76 makes the necessary changes to comply with the decision. This would remove a financial impediment to those participating in the electoral process as candidates. It would align perfectly with a central objective of Bill C-76, namely, to make the electoral process more accessible.

There are other changes affecting candidates that I would like to mention.

There is one relating to the parties' endorsements of candidates. Following Bill C-76, registered political parties will be able to provide Elections Canada with a list of all the candidates they are endorsing during the general election. Previously, parties had to do so individually, in each electoral district for each candidate and with individual returning officers. This is a remnant from a time when the elections administration was highly centralized. There is no reason to allow such a burdensome process to continue in the 21st century. Going forward, returning officers will be able to confirm the endorsement of the candidate in the electoral district simply by looking at a global list provided by the registered political parties. These changes are examples of how Bill C-76 would modernize our electoral process.

Another such example relating to candidates deals identification. I believe that many Canadians would be surprised to learn that while they, as electors, are required to show identification to vote, we, as candidates, are not required to do so for the nomination process. This would change with Bill C-76. Respective candidates would be required to provide proof of identification with their nomination papers. This would not limit their ability to use another name by which they are commonly known, such as a nickname. It only means that if they wished to use a name other than the one that is on their identification, they would need to provide evidence that they are, in fact, known by that name. We believe it is reasonable to ask candidates to provide evidence of their identity as a measure to ensure the integrity of our electoral system.

The last series of changes I would like to note is the amendments that Bill C-76 would bring to the treatment of candidates' expenses during the election period. It is noteworthy that these changes have also been made in response to the recommendations of the Chief Electoral Officer. Most importantly, changes are being made to the reimbursements of candidates for expenses incurred during the election period for child care or the care of a person with a disability. Following the passage of Bill C-76, these expenses would not be counted towards a candidate's spending limit. The candidate would be allowed to use his or her personal funds to cover these expenses, and they would be reimbursed at 90% instead of the current 60%. We believe this will prove to be an important measure that, once again, would make our elections more accessible to a wider range of candidates, including women and people with disabilities.

During the debates on this important proposed legislation, we talked a lot about the measures related to foreign interference, as in fact mentioned in the previous speech, such as identification requirements for electors and other issues coming from offshore.

I am pleased that the debate today has given me the opportunity to discuss some of the lesser known aspects of the elections modernization act. I think we are heading in the right direction. The Senate has made some good suggestions. The committee was very collaborative and came forward with measures that would really improve our electoral process, including the process relating to candidates.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / noon
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NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to a theme that my colleague for Skeena—Bulkley Valley has been pursuing, and I think quite rightly, with respect to the proposed legislation. For all the pomp and ceremony that we hear from government members about the proposed legislation and how great it is going to be, there are two things I find really objectionable about the bill.

One is the fact that it took so long to get the bill, but then in exchange for the time the government took to prepare the bill and get around to debating it, it said to Parliament that it was somehow our job to review a massive piece of legislation in a very short amount of time. I think there is something fundamentally unfair about that. This is not the only time we have seen this happen, but particularly with legislation on how we conduct our election, I think it is wrong. Therefore, we have a process grievance that perhaps the member would care to address.

Furthermore, for all the time the Liberals took, they did not include anything to obligate political parties to protect the privacy of Canadians' personal information, which we know political parties harvest and use for their own purposes. We have seen some recent very high profile abuses of such information, such as for the Brexit vote and the presidential election in the United States.

Therefore, we have this odd contradiction where there is a really important issue that I think Canadians would like to see addressed, but that has not been addressed in the bill, and the fact that the government took an inordinately long time to prepare the bill and then asked Parliament to rush its approval. I wonder how the member justifies that to this place and to Canadians generally.

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / noon
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have heard from the NDP with regard to other pieces of legislation that we move too slowly. The fact is that we have been very thorough in our review of this legislation. The committee was thorough. The Senate has spent time on it. We would rather get this done right instead of quickly. It is important for us to pass this legislation, though, in a timely way so that we can be prepared for the 2019 election.

In terms of transparency, parties are required to publish their transparency policies. The NDP currently does not have a transparency policy that shows who attends its fundraisers. Would the member consider that as his party goes forward?

Elections Modernization ActGovernment Orders

December 13th, 2018 / noon
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier, this legislation is going to greatly enhance Canada's democracy, and for that reason, the member should be supportive.

The Conservatives on the other hand oppose this legislation. They will do whatever they can to make sure that it never gets passed. We have had first reading, second reading, committee stage and have gone through report stage and third reading. The Senate has dealt with it also.

Maybe just to draw what would be a natural conclusion, would the member not agree that it is time to get the bill passed?