Absolutely. I think this is the advantage of the appearances.
The business hours are established in the legislation for every region of the country. If the act is to be amended, that would require the attention of the committee, because Elections Canada has no say over the opening and closing hours of polling stations.
As for staff recruitment and employment insurance penalties for the unemployed who would like to work on election day, you are right. There are two aspects to this. First, work done by an election worker does not represent insurable earnings. Second, if a person who is already receiving employment insurance is paid an amount that is more than 25 % of his or her benefit, he or she will see an equal amount deducted on the next employment insurance cheque. As an example, I would say that an election worker who is paid $195 and who is also unemployed and receiving benefits of $400 will see the next benefit cheque reduced by $95. That reduces the incentive to work for the elections. In any case, these are issues that would require amendments to the Employment Insurance Act. This would at the very least require amendment to the regulations. However, this is completely beyond the mandate of Elections Canada.
You talked about identification issues. This is a new procedure. As I mentioned, generally speaking voters have adapted to it quite easily. I mentioned a few groups who faced certain obstacles. I would simply advise you to be cautious concerning the article that you mentioned. The article is based on a study that was done following by-elections that concerned only four ridings, and it was the first time that identification was required for the vote. I always wait for the general election for a result of surveys. I do not believe we can apply the results of by-elections held in four ridings on a national scale. We must be prudent in that regard. I would prefer to see the results of the national survey that was just held following the last election in order to see if those figures are confirmed.
I finally have Ms. Davies' letter. We will answer her, absolutely.
You raised the issue of access to public spaces, that is to say private spaces that are accessible to the public, whether it is a question of government properties, shopping centres, residential properties, etc. Bill C-31 increases the access of candidates to these sites. You are not doubt correct in saying that it would be beneficial to organize a public information campaign. For the last election we issued a letter from the Chief Electoral Officer recognizing candidates' right of access. This was sent to all candidates. They could easily present that letter to anyone who objected to their presence or to their activities. The feedback I got on this issue was that it generally worked very well, but we did get a few complaints from candidates who found themselves denied access to areas that were accessible for campaign activities.