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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

12:15 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

Even in Canada I believe Manitoba still does enumeration, and so does Saskatchewan; so there are a number of provinces that still do enumeration.

12:15 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Are they reviewing this, sir, or do they maintain that they have a better system and they don't want to muck with it?

12:15 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

I know there's discussion here and there over time. We do compare information. We share the national list with provincial jurisdictions. They use it also to improve their own list. I'm not aware and I wouldn't want to speak for other jurisdictions as to whether they plan to seek any changes in the way they maintain their list of electors.

12:15 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Okay. And lastly on this issue, just review with me again the security measures you would put in place to make this work through being able to register or change your material online.

12:15 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

Quickly, there are a range of services. The first service would be to be able to confirm that you're registered: so you go online, confirm that you're registered at your address. That's simple information. All an elector needs to do with that would be to provide his or her address.

12:15 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

I'm sorry, when you say "do with that", are you talking about my interacting with the local returning office? Or are you talking about me online, at home?

12:15 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

Online, at home.

12:15 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

So the first thing is, I see if I'm on the list and confirm that's me--

12:15 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

And it will tell you during an election where to go to vote. That will give you basic information.

If you just recently moved and you want to change your address, you will go again online, and then you would have to share a secret with us. That's the common expression in the industry. That secret could be, as we discussed in June, the driver's licence number. It could be the date of birth. It could be maybe other information.

12:15 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

That's not hard to get, though, publicly. It's identifying the voter in the beginning to ensure the citizen is entitled to it. If they've already shared the secret with you and they've already conned you, the system doesn't work from that moment forward.

Thanks, Chair.

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Madam Ratansi, you're next.

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

I have two quick comments. One concerns what Mr. Albrecht had brought up--that is, somebody living around 100 metres away from the polling station. If you take away their right, their freedom of expression, I'm just making a statement that this would have to be revisited, because it impacts a lot of people.

On election by the Internet or registration of electorals by the Internet, I'm all for technology and I wonder whether enough precautions have been put into place. If there is even one breach, the whole electoral process is tarnished by it. It happened to CRA files, so I just want to know if we have thought through that one.

You talked about vouching. How often did you have to use this process in the last election? A quick response.

12:20 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

I could not tell you at this point in time. All I can tell you is that we've received a number of complaints of electors who could not be vouched.

With respect to e-registration, again it's something that will come back to this committee later on to flesh out more about what's going to be our approach here. I just want to point out again that even though you've registered, you still have to prove your ID when you vote. So when you show up at the poll you still have to establish your identity and your address, so that--

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

We're not into electronic voting yet. Okay, fine.

12:20 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

No, we're talking about e-registration here.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

I am an accountant, an auditor, and I agree with my counterpart from the Bloc that it becomes difficult when we have to do a lot of micromanagement ourselves.

I need to understand something. I think both Mr. Lukiwski and Mr. Proulx had talked about the in-and-out scandal. I won't call it a scandal; I want to call it the in-and-out possibility. How does one avoid--

October 7th, 2010 / 12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

On a point of order, Mr. Chair, I think maybe the now dismissed charges that are being appealed at public expense might be a more appropriate title.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

It doesn't matter. I just want to ensure that this doesn't happen again. You put checks and balances in place, and therefore I wish Mr. Reid had waited for me to finish my question, because I'm asking factual questions, audit trails. How do you ensure a better system? How do you avoid going into legal expenses and challenges and counter-challenges, which is a waste of taxpayers' dollars? So let's put a system in place that works.

12:20 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

Well, again, there are a number of recommendations in the report that seek to improve transparency and accountability with regard to political financing. They have nothing to do with the case you referred to. In fact, it builds on the recommendations of previous reports that had similar suggestions in terms of having access to political parties, documentary evidence to support their expenses.

What we've done in this report is we've curtailed the recommendation that was done following the 38th election, which I think was found to be a little bit too invasive by the committee at that time. So we're putting here, in my mind, a very reasonable recommendation that we didn't show more transparency regarding electoral expenses of political parties. As I point out, the federal jurisdiction is the only jurisdiction in Canada that does not have anything equivalent to this.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Fair enough.

When you talk about a very stringent recommendation, I looked at the reimbursement of election expenses and I was wondering whether it really goes far enough. For example, a two-to-one ratio, which you're suggesting in 2.2, would that act as a disincentive? Because the more stringent the regulations, the more stringent the sanctions. Perhaps that would be something to look at.

12:20 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

That's something the committee may want to consider. The point of the recommendation is that we need additional measures other than penal offences to encourage compliance.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

And my last question before I hand it over to Ms. Foote is—

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Well, in the ten seconds you have left.

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Okay, sorry.

You talk about disposal of a candidate's surplus and that it should go to the party. I'm wondering what happens to independent candidates who want to run again if they win or don't win. What do they do with their surplus?

12:25 p.m.

Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada

Marc Mayrand

The surplus goes to the Receiver General.