Elections Act can only be respected if Chief Electoral Officer has power to request all documents from parties
OTTAWA – The New Democratic Party of Canada says one way to avoid new scandals like the ‘in and out’ and fraudulent calls is to reinforce the powers of Elections Canada by allowing the Chief Electoral Officer to request all documents necessary for his investigations.
A motion to direct the government of Canada to bring forward legislation to increase the authority of the CEO and increase transparency for voter contact service providers was tabled today by NDP Democratic Reform Critic, DavidChristopherson and Deputy Critic, Alexandrine Latendresse.
“The chief electoral officer must be able to obtain documents from political parties to ensure they are in compliance with the law. It is ridiculous that if the Chief Electoral Officer needs more information he needs to call in the RCMP. That’s why we need this change” said Christopherson. “These changes will not only ensure that parties follow the rules, but that any conflict that arises is solved quickly.”
“If the Chief Electoral Officer had this power in 2006, the Conservatives wouldn’t have been able to drag the ‘in and out’ scandal out for five years. The truth would have come out earlier with far less expense to the public” said Latendresse. “Our motion will restore a bit of confidence in our democratic system, which is more than lacking at the moment.”
The New Democrat motion would also require telecommunications companies who provide contact services for voters during elections to register with Elections Canada. These companies would also have to verify and register the identity of their clients.
“This government must show greater transparency and grant the necessary powers to the Chief Electoral Officer. It’s a question of respect for voters” concluded Christopherson.
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