The Liberal government says it will not pursue mandatory or online voting for federal elections. The Liberals had raised the ideas for consideration in their 2015 election platform and tasked the special committee on electoral reform with studying the possibilities. But MPs on the special committee were divided on the merits of mandatory voting and concerned about the security of online voting, and recommended against pursuing either. In a formal response to the committee’s report, submitted on Monday, Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould said the government agrees with the committee. “While Canadians feel that online voting in federal elections would have a positive effect on voter turnout, their support is contingent on assurances that online voting would not result in increased security risks,” Gould wrote. “We agree.”
Articles about voting issues in Canada.
Even if Quebec’s chief electoral officer considers the issue closed, some minority and municipal leaders in Montreal are mobilizing to fight the province’s new electoral map. As the groundswell of opposition grows, some are talking about raising funds for a possible legal challenge to the new map, which west end politicians consider a stab in the back due to previous assurances it wouldn’t change. And the Greek community in Laval is in the same foul mood, saying the new map is splitting their community between two ridings. In fact, the new map has the community’s largest orthodox church, Holy Cross, in one riding while the parishioners are in another.
The man behind an online petition calling for the Liberal government to recommit to its electoral reform pledge says early signs of a flip-flop from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prompted him to launch the initiative months before last Wednesday’s announcement. Inspiring the petition was Justin Trudeau’s interview in Le Devoir on Oct. 19. “In that interview, he signalled electoral reform might not happen because, he said, support for it had waned,” petitioner Jonathan Cassels told CBC News. Cassels, who works in banking, said he often engages in political discussions via social media. But when he expressed concern over the prime minister’s words online, Cassels said he received dozens of responses.
Canada: First-past-the-post electoral system advances ‘democratic values,’ says rookie Democratic Institutions Minister Gould | The Hill Times
A week after the Trudeau government scrapped its promise to change Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system in time for the next federal election, the new Minister of Democratic Institutions Karina Gould defended the current voting system before the House Affairs Committee Tuesday, saying it “advances a number of democratic values. The first-past-the-post system may not be perfect, but no electoral system is. But it has served this country for 150 years and advances a number of democratic values Canadians hold dear, such as strong local representation, stability, and accountability,” said Ms. Gould (Burlington, Ont.) whose new mandate letter states that “changing the electoral system will not be in your mandate.”
Elections Canada is exploring the potential of an electronic ballot delivery system to speed up the process for absentee voters. The agency is calling it a fact-finding exercise to learn more from potential suppliers on how to design a system that would allow voters unable or unwilling to vote on election day or at advance polls to download and print a ballot — instead of waiting for one to show up in the mail. “Elections Canada is seeking information on tools and technologies currently available in the market that could help improve the special ballot vote-by-mail service we currently offer,” Melanie Wise, a spokeswoman for the agency, wrote Monday in an email.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau abandoned his promise to reform Canada’s electoral system on Wednesday, claiming no consensus has been found on an alternative system. Only two months after recommitting to electoral reform, Trudeau told newly appointed Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould that replacing the first-past-the-post system was no longer on the table. Trudeau’s decision shelves months of work by a special House of Commons committee, two separate public engagement and consultation exercises, numerous MP town hall meetings and one cross-country ministerial tour.
Abandoning a major campaign promise, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government dropped plans on Wednesday to overhaul the country’s electoral system. The move, which prompted one opposition member of parliament to call Trudeau “a liar,” adds to pressure the Liberal Party prime minister is already facing for controversies surrounding cash-for-access fundraisers as well as an ethics probe into a vacation at a private island over the New Year’s holiday. Trudeau had promised during the 2015 election campaign that Canada would have a new voting system in place by the 2019 election, a reform expected to benefit smaller parties, such as the left-leaning Green Party, which holds only one seat in parliament.
Since the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) tabled its report in December, the national conversation has largely focused on potential changes to the electoral system. One of the committee’s more significant recommendations related to the future of online voting in Canada, however, has flown under the radar. The committee recommended that Elections Canada not adopt online voting at this time, but work with stakeholders to determine how election technologies can maintain electoral integrity and voter access, notably for persons with disabilities. This should not be dismissed as an insignificant recommendation as it has the potential to influence the modernization of voting in federal elections in Canada. While Elections Canada could certainly start work on this, development of online voting approaches in other jurisdictions has shown that working with experts – social and computer scientists – is a best practice. In Geneva, Switzerland, for example, the decision to leverage expert knowledge substantially improved the design of the online voting system.
About two-thirds of Canadians are generally satisfied with the country’s democracy, but just as many think parties should make decisions collaboratively, says a report on the Liberal government’s online survey about electoral reform. It also says Canadians may be open to changes – if the new system is easy to understand. The findings from the much-maligned MyDemocracy.ca survey, released Tuesday by Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould, show 50 per cent of respondents are “somewhat satisfied” with the way democracy works in Canada, and another 17 per cent are very satisfied. Still, the survey said 70 per cent of respondents also want a government where several parties agree before a decision is made. And 62 per cent, almost two-thirds, agreed at least in part that it’s better for several parties to govern together, even if it takes longer for the government to get things done.
The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal of what B.C. civil liberty groups have argued is an election gag law. The B.C. Election Act forces people to register before sponsoring political advertising during a provincial election — even if little or no money is spent. Though the appeal was rejected and the law was upheld, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) says the ruling is a partial win because it clarifies a law that has caused confusion and even self-censoring in the past. “The court has kind of reinterpreted what election advertising actually is in a way that I think will be helpful to individuals who want to speak out about the issues that matter to them during an election campaign,” said Laura Track, a lawyer with the BCCLA.