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2nd Session, 36th Parliament,
48 Elizabeth II, 1999

The House of Commons of Canada

BILL C-269

An Act to establish the right of electors to recall members of Parliament

      Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

SHORT TITLE

Short Title

1. This Act may be cited as the Recall Act.

INTERPRETATION

Interpre-
tation: Canada Elections Act

2. (1) Unless a contrary intention appears, words and expressions used in this Act have the same meaning as in the Canada Elections Act.

Definitions

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the definitions in this subsection apply in this Act.

``Clerk''
« greffier »

``Clerk'' means the Clerk of the House of Commons.

``electoral district''
« circonscrip-
tion
»

``electoral district'', in respect of a recall election, means any place or territorial area that was entitled, at the then most recent general election, to return a member to serve in the House of Commons.

``federal party''
« parti fédéral »

``federal party'' means any political party that has one or more elected members in the House of Commons on the day on which writs of recall election are issued, or that is registered with the Chief Electoral Officer.

``promoter''
« promo-
teur
»

``promoter'' means a person who promotes a petition under section 4.

``recall petition''
« pétition en révocation »

``recall petition'' means a petition seeking the holding of a vote to recall a member of Parliament under this Act, and includes the forms on which the signatures of the signatories are recorded.

``Speaker''
« président »

``Speaker'' means the Speaker of the House of Commons.

REQUIREMENT TO HOLD A RECALL ELECTION

Requirement to hold a recall election

3. (1) Subject to subsection (2), a recall election shall be held if a valid recall petition is deposited with the Clerk that has been signed by a number of electors resident in an electoral district and that represents not less than twenty-five per cent of the votes cast in the most recent election in that district and otherwise complies with the provisions of this Act.

General election invalidates recall

(2) A recall election shall not be held if a writ for a general election is issued within sixty days following the date a petition under subsection (1) is declared to be valid by the Clerk or within thirty days following the issue of the writ for the recall election.

No petition in first 12 months after election

(3) No proposal for a petition for a recall election may be made in respect of a member within the first twelve months following the date the member was elected.

Only one recall in a Parliament

(4) No recall petition may be proposed or circulated for signature to recall a member of Parliament if a recall petition has been previously proposed and circulated for signature in respect of the same member during the same Parliament.

PETITIONS

Right to propose recall petition

4. An elector who is a resident of an electoral district may submit to the Clerk a proposal to promote a recall petition seeking the holding of a recall election in that electoral district in accordance with this Act.

Form of proposal

5. A proposal for a recall petition shall be accompanied by a draft of the proposed recall petition stating

    (a) the name of the proposer; and

    (b) an address in Canada at which the proposer may be contacted in relation to the proposal.

Notice published

6. (1) Within twenty working days after receiving a proposal, the Clerk shall determine whether the submission complies with section 5 and, if so, shall

    (a) so inform the proposer in writing;

    (b) provide the proposer with the form of the pages on which signatures to the petition must be collected; and

    (c) publish in the Canada Gazette a notice that the proposal has been received for the electoral district.

Content of publication

(2) A notice under subsection (1) shall specify the name of the person who submitted the proposal to promote the recall petition, who shall be identified as the person approved to promote the recall petition, the address in Canada at which the person may be contacted, the electoral district affected and the name of the member of Parliament for that electoral district, and shall state that the proposal conforms with the requirements of this Act.

Promotion of approved petition

7. (1) A person whose proposal to promote a recall petition has been approved by the Clerk may circulate and promote the petition and ask electors to sign it for the purposes of this Act.

Person signing to be elector

(2) Any person who is an elector in the electoral district to which the recall petition relates may sign it.

Information by those signing

(3) An elector signing a petition must write legibly beside the signature the full name, the address that qualifies the signatory as an elector in the electoral district and the date of the signature.

Time limit

(4) The promoter shall deliver the recall petition to the Clerk within twelve months after the date of publication in the Canada Gazette of the notice published pursuant to subsection 6(1) and shall state in writing the number of pages and the number of signatures on each page.

Additional pages

(5) Subject to sections 11 and 14, no pages or signatures shall be added to a recall petition after it has been delivered to the Clerk.

Lapsed petition

(6) A recall petition shall lapse if it is not delivered to the Clerk within the time limit mentioned in subsection (4).

Language of petition forms

8. A petition form may be circulated in either English or French or in both official languages.

Who may circulate a petition

9. (1) A petition may be circulated by any Canadian citizen on behalf of the promoter.

Electronic circulation

(2) A blank petition form may be circulated electronically or by mail, but a completed petition form must be delivered to the Clerk in physical form with the original signatures.

Duties of Clerk

10. (1) The Clerk shall, within thirty days after receiving a recall petition, ascertain that

    (a) all the signatures are on forms supplied by the promoter or copies thereof and in the form provided by the Clerk; and

    (b) the promoter has complied with the requirements of this Act.

Defects

(2) Where the Clerk finds

    (a) that the signatures are not all on forms supplied by the promoter or copies thereof and in the form provided by the Clerk, or

    (b) that any of the provisions of this Act have not been complied with in relation to the petition,

the Clerk shall return to the promoter any part of the petition that does not comply.

Duties of promoter in relation to defects

11. (1) Where any pages are returned to the promoter, the promoter may, within sixty days after the date on which any part was returned

    (a) remedy any defects identified by the Clerk that result from non-compliance with subsection 7(2) or (3); and

    (b) return the pages to the Clerk.

Review

(2) The Clerk shall review any pages returned within the time allowed by subsection (1) and shall advise the promoter whether the defects in the pages have been remedied.

Pages with unremedied defects not counted

(3) The pages that have been returned to the promoter that are not subsequently returned to the Clerk with the defects remedied within the time allowed by subsection (1) shall not be counted by the Clerk and the Clerk shall so notify the promoter.

Certification of petition

12. (1) Where the Clerk receives a recall petition or a remedied petition that complies with subsections 7(2) and (3), the Clerk shall, within two months after the date of receipt of the petition or the remedied petition, whichever is the later, either

    (a) certify that the petition is valid and give it to the Speaker; or

    (b) certify that the petition has lapsed and return it to the promoter.

Certification by Clerk

(2) A recall petition that is in the correct form shall be certified valid by the Clerk if the Clerk is satisfied, in the manner described in section 13, that the petition has been signed by a number of electors representing not less than twenty-five per cent of the total votes cast in the most recent general election or by-election in the electoral district and that the signatures were dated after publication in the Canada Gazette of the notice required by subsection 6(1).

Procedure in relation to certification

13. (1) For the purpose of the certification under subsection 12(2), the Clerk shall take, at random, from the names and addresses of those who signed the petition, a number of them being the lesser of

    (a) three thousand, and

    (b) twenty-five per cent of the total votes cast in the most recent general election or by-election in the electoral district

and submit them to the Chief Electoral Officer.

Names checked

(2) The Chief Electoral Officer shall check the names and addresses provided by the Clerk pursuant to subsection (1) and ascertain the number that represents electors eligible to vote in a general election in the electoral district to which the petition relates and how many, if any, were duplications, and shall inform the Clerk of the result.

Eligible number checked

(3) The Clerk shall then, by applying the proportion of the names submitted under subsection (1) that were different eligible electors to the total number of signatories, determine whether or not the recall petition has been signed by the number of electors required by subsection 12(2).

Insufficient signatures; petition lapses

(4) If the Clerk determines that the petition does not have sufficient proper signatures to be certified under subsection 12(2), the petition shall lapse and the Clerk shall so notify the promoter and publish a notice of the lapse in the Canada Gazette.

Resubmission

14. (1) Where a recall petition has lapsed, the promoter of that petition may, at any time within two months after the date on which the petition lapsed

    (a) collect more signatures to the petition; and

    (b) submit the petition again, on one occasion only, to the Clerk.

Consequence of lapse

(2) Where a petition that has been submitted again under subsection (1) is not certified valid by the Clerk, it lapses finally and may not be submitted again under this section.

Speaker reads petition to the House

15. The Clerk shall transmit a recall petition that the Clerk has certified to be valid to the Speaker and the Speaker shall lay the petition before the House on the next day on which the House sits and the Clerk shall read the petition to the House.

Date of recall election

16. (1) Where a petition is laid before the House of Commons pursuant to section 15, the Governor in Council shall, within thirty days, by order published in the Canada Gazette, fix a day on which the recall election is to be held.

Date of recall election

(2) The recall election shall be held within three months after the date on which the recall petition was laid before the House of Commons.

Delegation of functions of Clerk

17. The Clerk shall not delegate to any person, other than the Deputy Clerk of the House of Commons, any of the Clerk's functions under this Act.

Names on list kept confidential

18. (1) The names of signatories to a recall petition, whether or not the petition has sufficient signatures to initiate a recall election, shall be kept confidential and not made public by the promoter, any person collecting signatures to a petition, the Clerk, the Chief Electoral Officer, any person acting for any of them and any other person.

Offence and penalty

(2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both.


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