I would, thank you.
Thank you to your team for being here today. It's a pleasure to have you here and to hear about all the work you've been doing.
It's not every day you get access to the Chief Electoral Officer, so I have a question. I don't know if you're aware of or read an article in the Globe and Mail on August 20. It quoted a Mr. Brian Patterson. As I read the story, I thought that there was something not right about this, but then I'm not the Chief Electoral Officer, so I wanted to get your take on it.
Just to put it in perspective, Mr. Patterson was actually the chair of Tony Clement's provincial and federal leadership campaigns. He was also the chief of staff to Mr. Clement at four ministries in the Ontario government, and he was the election-day manager for Mr. Clement in Parry Sound--Muskoka in 2006 and 2008. That's just to set up for you where the comments came from.
According to the Globe and Mail story, he was asked by a municipal candidate how to obtain federal voters lists. I understand that the Conservatives manage a program called CIMS. This is what Mr. Patterson said, and I just want to read this, then I want to read what the act says and get your take on whether this can be avoided.
Mr. Patterson said to a municipal candidate:
But if someone gives you a copy of CIMS in your local campaign, we can’t stop you from calling up your local guys that you work [with] on the executives of [riding associations] if you can get it off them. You know, “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,”.... [Y]ou never heard me say this—and I’ll deny it in a room full of lawyers—that if you can somehow get it, you know, we don’t care.
Now, section 110 of the Canada Elections Act prohibits sharing the voters lists with anyone other than MPs. In fact, it states that parties and members or candidates of other levels of government may not use federal lists of electors for their own political purposes. The lists of electors can be used only by the federal political entity for communicating with its electors and/or for a federal election or referendum.
I guess it doesn't matter whether you saw the story, but I'm interested in whether comments like that concern you. Is it a violation of the Elections Act? How do you guard against something like this happening?