Madam Speaker, we indeed need to act to ensure that elections are held according to the rules without any cheating or outside interference via social media. We must ensure that the content that people see and share is based on facts and reality. We must ensure that there is no impersonation. The measures that the minister just outlined are not enough.
First, the government is relying upon the good faith of web giants. The minister's entire declaration was in the conditional tense. To ensure the integrity of online content, platforms would have do this or they would have to do that. The government stubbornly refuses to force web giants to follow the laws and regulations in place here. Can we really trust them? The answer is no. The founder of Facebook was very clear when he testified before the U.S. Congress. He believes that there should not be any regulations. He also indicated that it was up to the government to impose regulations if it so desired, and that he would do everything in his power to generate profits for his shareholders. That is the kind of person that Ottawa is protecting by failing to put in place a strict regulatory framework. The government is refusing to impose regulations on web giants to protect the integrity of our electoral system, just as it is refusing to subject them to the same tax laws as every other business. Ottawa keeps giving web giants more and more free passes.
Second, the government sees the mote in its neighbour's eye but not the beam in its own. The main reason we must be wary of interference and impersonation in federal elections is that the existing regulatory framework is full of holes. Fake news? There was plenty of fake news in the last election, including polls with incomplete data. I remember one party here making headlines with a commissioned survey in the riding of Papineau that indicated the Prime Minister might be trailing in his own riding. That was not the only riding, nor was it the only example. In fact, back in 2006, one firm had to apologize for misinterpreting polling data.
People are worried about foreign interference in our election. Everyone points to Russia and the last U.S. presidential election, but other nations interfering in federal elections is not the only thing we need to worry about. There is another factor that may interfere and make the democratic process unfair. That factor is most certainly present here in Ottawa; that factor is money.
As long as the old parties keep hosting exclusive cocktail fundraisers at $1,500 a head to sell preferred access to ministers and the Prime Minister, as long as they refuse to restore the old system of public funding for political parties based on votes received, as recommended by former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley, and as long as they continue to reject this democratic solution, we must guard against the influence of lobbyists on our electoral system.
There is another problem that the government refuses to address, namely the fact that anyone can vote in a federal election without having to prove their identity. Voters are not even required to produce photo identification. That is ridiculous. A person can vote without ID, even without a photo, as long as someone else is willing to confirm their identity, by taking an oath, of course. Think about that for a second. Anyone can vote in a federal election with their face covered up and without ID. This raises questions about the possibility of identity theft.
For all of these reasons, the Bloc Québécois is not impressed with the minister's statement today. We urge Canadians to be vigilant, because the federal government plainly has no intention of taking action to fix the flaws in the system.