Voting is the primary way for Canadians to participate in
the democratic process. An essential part of a well-functioning democracy is
the willingness to make needed reforms to the administration and oversight of
elections to ensure the continued vitality of the electoral system and to
promote and maintain accessibility, trust and public confidence. In pursuing
its democratic reform agenda, the Government has focused on enhancing the
accountability, fairness and integrity of our electoral system.
The passage of the Federal Accountability Act strengthened Canada’s political financing regime by introducing measures to
ensure the integrity, fairness and transparency of the electoral process,
including new limits on contributions from individuals, a ban on contributions
from unions and corporations, and tightened rules on gifts and trust funds.
The Government continued its efforts to enhance the integrity and transparency
of the political financing regime with the introduction of the Political
Loans Accountability Act, which will ensure that political loans cannot be
used to circumvent the contribution limits established in the Federal
Accountability Act. New voter identification requirements have also been
implemented, in response to the Procedure and House Affairs Committee’s report
in the 39th Parliament. Through Budget 2011, the Government is implementing
the four-year phasing-out of the per vote subsidy to political parties. In
January 2012, the Government also committed to repeal section 329 of the Canada
Elections Act, the ban on the early transmission of electoral results.
While Canadians have been well served by the electoral
process, we should always strive to ensure our electoral system meets the needs
of voters. The recommendations in the Fifteenth Report of the Standing
Committee on Procedure and House Affairs respond to recommendations made by the
Chief Electoral Officer following the 40th general election in his report
entitled Responding to Changing Needs. The Committee considered the 50
recommendations made in the Chief Electoral Officer’s report and endorsed 44 of
the recommendations, either in full or with amendments. All but three of these
recommendations received unanimous support. The recommendations focus on
measures to improve further the integrity and consistency of the electoral
system and to provide Elections Canada with more flexibility in administering
the electoral process, while preserving the trust of Canadians in the process
and improving accessibility.
Ensuring the continued vitality of the electoral system is
essential to promoting and maintaining the trust and confidence of Canadians.
An essential part of a well-functioning democracy is the willingness to make
reforms to the administration of elections when needed. However, it is
important to consider legislative changes in the broader context of reform. In
undertaking a broader review of the Canada Elections Act, the Government
will take the time to study carefully the recommendations of the Committee.
The Government will also review further recommendations of the Chief Electoral
Officer of Canada that may be forthcoming.
The Government would like to thank the Committee for its
hard work and its commitment to improving the electoral system. The Government
looks forward to working with Committee members and all parties on further
reforms to the electoral process.