The Harper government is signalling a willingness to hold extensive hearings and entertain amendments to its controversial proposals for overhauling Canada’s election laws. However, it is so far drawing the line at conducting cross-country hearings, although it has agreed to at least reconsider the idea. Tom Lukiwski, parliamentary secretary to the government House leader, took the conciliatory approach Tuesday as the procedure and House affairs committee met to determine the process for studying Bill C-23. “This is a big bill … Our suggestion will be to give it probably as much time as needed,” Lukiwski said on his way into the meeting, which was held primarily behind closed doors. He also said Conservative MPs are “going to be open” to some “reasonable” amendments to the bill.
“Clearly, the NDP would like to see almost the bill gutted. That’s not going to happen,” Lukiwski said. “But I’ve got no predisposition that we want to either deny or accept amendments.”
That openness followed a signal Monday from Pierre Poilievre, the minister responsible for democratic reform, that he’s willing to amend at least one provision of the bill, which prohibits Elections Canada from communicating with Canadians about anything other than how, when and where to vote.