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Evidence of meeting #24 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was candidate.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Marc Mayrand  Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada
Stéphane Perrault  Senior General Counsel and Senior Director, Legal Services, Office of the Chief Electoral Officer

Noon

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

Riding associations and political parties are permanent entities. They are able to get to work earlier than the candidates, who are often confirmed once the process is already well underway.

Noon

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

I see. Thank you.

Recommendation 1.10, dealing with registration on the Internet, interests me a lot, but it also gives me a great deal of concern. You talk about allowing “the Chief Electoral Officer to accept an appropriate mode of authentication”. What does that mean in your jargon?

Noon

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

Well, it will depend on the service that is provided. First of all, if voters simply want to confirm that they are on the list, a name and address will suffice. We might also ask for the postal code. If someone wants to change his personal information—for example, if there has been a recent change of address, which reflects the majority of situations that arise now—we could apply a more stringent mode of authentication.

When we met with Committee members last June, we talked about an approach using the driver's licence number. That is not shared universally and we have it in our files. We could ask a voter, before an address change is made, that he confirm his identity using his driver's licence number.

When we discussed this issue in June, a number of you said that this was asking too much and suggested that we simply use the date of birth—information which we also have in our files. So, a voter could confirm his identity, which would be authenticated through the date of birth.

Noon

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

We're in the five-minute round here, and I was giving you extra time. It wouldn't happen again.

Monsieur Albrecht.

October 7th, 2010 / noon

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Noon

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

That's why we are requesting some flexibility in that regard.

Noon

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

So, it's not a specific technique or computer process that you're seeking to introduce, but a way of validating identity.

Noon

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

Yes, it is secret information that we share with the voter.

Noon

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Mr. Albrecht.

Noon

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

To follow up briefly on vouching, I.11, what other confirmation does that person need? I couldn't just walk into a polling station and say this is my brother who lives in my house; he has to have some identification.

12:05 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

The voucher needs to have identity documents.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Okay, I wanted to clarify that.

Secondly, going back to I.9, about the prohibition of the posting of partisan material within 100 metres, does that include a private residence?

12:05 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

That's from the polling sites.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

So if there's a polling site in a residential area and there's a person across the street who is nowhere near 100 metres away, that person would be restricted from putting up a sign.

12:05 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

On voting day.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Correct.

12:05 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

Yes, on that voting day.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

I think we're going to get some push-back on that.

12:05 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

That's an issue that comes up regularly on polling days. We get all sorts of calls from candidates across the country asking us to intervene in this and that.

Right now the rule says it shouldn't be posted on the facility. Some are arguing that as long as they're not posting on the wall at the building where the vote is taking place, just in the front door would be okay.

We're saying—

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Well, with all due respect, I can see it being on the property where the polling station is located, but in a rural community you have all kinds of private residences within 100 metres of a polling station, and I think it would restrict their right to express their opinions. And that goes for all parties.

I'm just expressing my opinion.

On item II.7 you're talking about confusion in the way political financing rules apply to all-candidates debates. How would you apportion the expenses to candidates for all-candidates debates? This is confusing. Would you base it on the number of candidates registered in that riding, or on the number of candidates who are participating in that particular debate? I've always felt that these all-candidates debates are organized by other groups and that we just participate as we're able to, and I can't see that being apportioned to my expenses.

12:05 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

Well, that's the argument we're facing more and more, mainly of course from candidates who have been excluded, saying that those who participated in the debate received an advantage that promotes their candidacy. Therefore, there's a non-monetary contribution received by those who participated and it should be part of their electoral expenses. How would we apportion that among candidates? Most likely it would be equally among all those who participated.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

I guess that's my point. It's among those who participate, and that again creates an unfairness, in my opinion, because when you are not able to participate, you are penalized.

12:05 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

If you haven't participated, there's no non-monetary contribution. You haven't received any benefit from it so it's not an expenditure for you. I'm sorry. It would be strictly for those. We're saying this should be clarified. Don't get me wrong--I'm not saying--

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

No, I understand we're not adopting these recommendations. They're for discussion today.

12:05 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

I'm saying this is an area that would benefit from clarification, because there is more and more representation to that effect, and at some point it's going to end up in court.