A Conservative senator on the committee recommending changes to the controversial Fair Elections Act says she is convinced that vouching is “problematic,” and that alternatives to proof of identification must be found. A Senate committee made up primarily of Conservative members earlier this week recommended nine changes to the Harper government’s Fair Elections Act — an electoral reform bill proposed by Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre. But the committee did not recommend changes to one of Bill C-23’s most-controversial provisions, which would eliminate the practice of vouching — where one person can vouch for another if they don’t have proper ID — and the use of voter cards as a way for voters to prove their identity. “In our Senate report, we didn’t touch those provisions; we stood by them, we agree,” Senator Linda Frum told CTV’s Question Period. Frum said it is “reasonable” to ask voters to produce identification and proof of residence. “I’ve heard all the statements about how that can be difficult in some instances, but frankly, I think for most Canadians, it’s not problematic.”
And for those who do have difficulty proving identity and address, Frum said it’s up to Elections Canada to expand the list of approved identification for federal votes. There are currently 39 forms of identification permitted.
The Senate committee has, however, recommended that heads of retirement homes, homeless shelters and aboriginal reserves be required to vouch for people who reside in those places.
Frum also said the committee is also encouraging Elections Canada to make electronic invoices an acceptable form of identification, “so that there are other ways to improve options for ID without having to revive vouching. Vouching is a problem.”