Evidence of meeting #127 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site.) The winning word was elections.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Robert Sampson  Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Elections Canada
Trevor Knight  Senior Counsel, Legal Services, Elections Canada
Stephanie Kusie  Calgary Midnapore, CPC
Jean-François Morin  Senior Policy Advisor, Privy Council Office
Clerk of the Committee  Mr. Andrew Lauzon
Philippe Méla  Legislative Clerk
Linda Lapointe  Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Lib.

October 18th, 2018 / 9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

If I may, I think Mr. Morin is saying “none” of them because Liberal-41—I guess Liberal-40 was already done—goes halfway to addressing what this Chief Electoral Officer had said. When he was before PROC, I believe it was stated to also take away the intent portion. Now we are learning that for any criminal offence, you would need the mens rea, so it wouldn't be wise to do that. That was the statement made.

But yes, this does somewhat take into consideration what he wanted to achieve and allows for the offence of attempting.

9:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

I'm wondering if there's anything additive between that, which is helpful and broadening, and any element of PV-14 or CPC-141 that is also helpful. I know that once we affect one line of the act, that's kind of it. We have to leave it be.

I know you're not here on policy, but is there any element of the two prior amendments that are in line with, if I can put it that way, what the CEO requested be changed within Bill C-76?

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

And could be added, you're saying, to Liberal-41?

9:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Yes. I don't want to complicate things too much, but if there is a simple addition we can make to Liberal-41 to satisfy something else we heard from the Chief Electoral Officer, then why not consider it?

9:30 a.m.

Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Elections Canada

Robert Sampson

With CPC-141 and PV-14, we move away from simply an intent to affect the results of an election by adding “confidence in the integrity of an election” to that.

9:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Right.

9:30 a.m.

Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Elections Canada

Robert Sampson

That would broaden the scope and would be more in line with the Chief Electoral Officer's recommendations.

I would say that we could go one step further and refer to leadership contests and nomination contests. That would broaden it even further.

9:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

What is the term within the act that covers elections, nomination contests and leadership races? There isn't one, is there?

9:30 a.m.

Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Elections Canada

Robert Sampson

There is no one single term.

9:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

You have to name them all.

We don't update the Canada Elections Act very often, right, so why not go for gold here? If there's a way to say election, nominations and leadership contests....

If “results of an election, nomination or leadership contest, or of undermining confidence in the integrity of the same” were added to Liberal-41, that would fall in line, that would include another recommendation that came from the CEO while still, as Ruby has said, broadening the question about intent.

9:30 a.m.

LCdr Jean-François Morin

On this specific question, CPC-141 and PV-14 do not modify the same line as Liberal-41. I think that Liberal-41 comes a bit later in line number, so CPC-141 and PV-14 are the only ones that amend the chapeau of subsection 482(1).

9:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

These are all connected, but the first two are the ones that we need to consider first, and then we can consider Liberal-41 after that as an independent clause.

Looking through you, Chair, to get help—yes.

I'm not sure how the Conservatives feel about this, but that friendly amendment to CPC-141, I think, is better than PV-14. Pass that or consider it, and then look at Liberal-41, which is an addition—adding subsection (d)—and we wouldn't be affecting the same thing twice, so those votes would stand apart. Is that right?

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

If we did that, passed CPC-141 and Liberal-41 and made the amendment that Mr. Cullen is talking about, would that cover a lot of stuff the CEO was recommending?

9:30 a.m.

Senior Counsel, Legal Services, Elections Canada

Trevor Knight

Yes, it would cover a lot of the stuff.

9:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

I don't know how the Conservatives feel about accepting a subamendment to their amendment to include “results of an election, nomination or leadership contest, or of undermining confidence in the integrity of an election, nomination or leadership contest”.

Then we could move on to Liberal-41 after that.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

Do you want to jot that down while they're talking, just the subamendment? Add those words for the clerk.

9:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

You want me to write that? Sure.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

He's going to get you some paper.

9:30 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Is it nomination contest or just nomination? Okay, thank you very much.

Is it called leadership contest, as well? Is that how it's referred to in the act? Thank you.

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Larry Bagnell

I'll just read you the subamendment to CPC-141. We're discussing the following subamendment: results of an election, nomination contest or leadership contest, or of undermining confidence in the integrity of the election, nomination contest or leadership contest.

It just adds two elements. It adds those other two events in the electoral cycle. It is not only affecting the results but undermining confidence in the integrity of the election. Those are the two things that would be added that the Chief Electoral Officer had proclivity for.

Ms. Sahota.

9:35 a.m.

Liberal

Ruby Sahota Liberal Brampton North, ON

Personally, I have no problem with the “confidence in the integrity” language and all of that. That's all nice and flowery, and we can add it in. I don't think it makes any change to the effect of the actual clause.

Regarding the leadership contest and the nomination, so far every time we've sat down it's been decided that the parties are going to be responsible for those things, and it is not under the purview of Elections Canada, necessarily. They're not involved in those processes.

I don't know. What do you guys think?

9:35 a.m.

Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Elections Canada

Robert Sampson

In terms of nomination contests and leadership contests, Elections Canada's primary involvement is with respect to political financing aspects. For an offence here, we would likely be speaking of the commissioner's involvement.

9:35 a.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

[Inaudible—Editor] attempted to commit...tried to put into a leadership race or a nomination race, spreading information that was trying to discredit the race itself, the contest itself.

9:35 a.m.

Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Elections Canada

Robert Sampson

That's correct.

9:35 a.m.

Calgary Midnapore, CPC

Stephanie Kusie

Chair, I think we share the views of the government. It's sort of our philosophy to keep party politics in the family.