Mr. Speaker, I have to admit that I gave a tiny shudder when the reference was made to the American parallel simply because, although things are far better and have been for a number of decades in the United States, there was a time when electoral laws in some states were designed for the purpose of selectively disenfranchising certain people. I always worry that someone will misunderstand.
I want to make it clear that the model that was used in designing the ID requirement was based on a precedent that is Canadian. It is the electoral law in Quebec and modifications were made to that law in 1999. In saying that, I think my hon. colleague who just spoke would agree that the logical thing to do in committee is to seek out information as to how well this has worked out in Quebec. My understanding is that it has been a positive experience in Quebec, but obviously we could summon, as witnesses, electoral officials from that province and enquire about problems that have occurred, and also advocates for the homeless. Obviously there are homelessness issues in some Quebec cities as well as there are in Vancouver and elsewhere. We could probably deal in a businesslike manner with that problem.
One thought that I do have as well is that the fundamental problem, when it comes to homeless people voting, is in addition to the issue of identification, and that is the fact that one's identity is normally linked in the electoral rolls to an address. It seems to me that there is a general need anyway for us to work on those whose addresses have recently changed. Young people going off to school tend to fall into this category, as do homeless people, obviously.
I think a good case can be made for enhanced enumerations shortly before an election in areas where there are high levels of homelessness. This is obviously easier with fixed date elections.