Mr. Speaker, in the last session of Parliament, Bill C-114, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act, was introduced and passed.
Section 31 of the elections act requires that a party that could not field 50 candidates must have its status revoked, all assets liquidated and all debts paid.
Section 31 caused the Communist Party, the Social Credit Party and other parties to be deregistered. Most newspapers came to the defence of such parties: the Toronto Star calling the change a draconian treatment of fledgling political parties, while the Vancouver Sun called such an act unjust.
Other medias commented negatively in this respect, and I think it is a very serious matter when parties that have been recognized for more than 75 years are forced to relinquish their status of official political party. They also had to liquidate their assets.
Last year, I presented a bill that would restore the democratic rights of these parties.
Unfortunately the bill collapsed. In the meantime, the Communist Party sent a petition with almost 4,000 signatures, respectfully calling on the government to repeal section 31 (11-14) of the Canada Elections Act. This problem must be redressed.