A change proposed by the Conservatives in their new election bill would “directly affect” some Canadians’ right to vote, former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley said Tuesday. Abolishing the process of vouching, which serves as proof of a voter’s identification, “will impact very negatively on the values of participation, impartiality and transparency,” Kingsley told a committee of MPs. “This will directly affect the constitutional right to vote of a significant number of Canadians without justification.” “Please. Please do not get rid of it,” he said.
Kingsley told MPs if they were concerned about vouching irregularities, which he and Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand said were mainly improper record-keeping, Parliament should fix those problems rather than kill the whole process.
The change to the vouching provision is one of several measures in Bill C-23 that Kingsley said need to be removed or changed, but it’s one he emphasized in his opening statement.
Mayrand, the current head of Elections Canada, said eliminating vouching will disenfranchise tens of thousands of people.