In defence of the Fair Elections Act
Re: The Fair Elections Act (C-23)
Recently your paper published a letter to the editor from Kyle Morrow, a defeated provincial Liberal candidate in the 2012 election. In his letter he produces some blatant misinformation regarding the Fair Elections Act. I feel compelled to correct these misleading comments.
First, the Fair Elections Act will not prevent Canadians from voting. Bill C-23 is clear in its intent — you need to provide identification that verifies your address and who you are. Morrow’s claim that our prime minister is trying to turn the clocks back or in any way prevent people from voting is factually incorrect and shows wilful disregard for the contents of the legislation.
The Fair Elections Act contains 39 forms of authorized identification that Canadians can choose from to prove their identity and residence. Morrow fails to mention that in his letter. In Quebec, for instance, the province only allows five forms of identification at the polls, all of which are included in Bill C-23. Moreover, in Alberta when voting, our laws are similar to the proposals contained in the Fair Elections Act.
It is not unreasonable to expect that Canadians would have to show identification when voting, especially when you consider that to borrow a book at a library you are required to present photo ID or if you want to purchase alcohol or enter a bar you have to produce identification. In a recent poll conducted by Ipsos Reid, 87 per cent of people said it was reasonable to require someone to prove their identity and address before voting. I agree with them.
Morrow took particular issue with the provision to remove ‘vouching’ and the removal of Voter Information Cards as a form of authorized identification. According to the Neufeld Report commissioned by Elections Canada, vouching procedures are complex and there were irregularities in 25 per cent of cases where vouching was used. Furthermore, in areas where onsite conformity advisors were applied, vouching irregularities averaged 21 per cent — the overly complex procedures cannot be remedied by simply improving quality assurance.
Canadians believe it is acceptable to eliminate vouching and require voters to personally prove their identity and address before voting. You have to ask yourself why the Liberals and Morrow are not listening to Canadians?
When Morrow speaks about removing voter information cards, he fails to mention that other than as pilot projects in recent elections, Canadians have always voted without using voter information cards as proof of identity and residency.
While Morrow and his Liberal Party friends continue to support the weakening of our democracy by supporting these risky practices, our government will continue to fight to ensure our democratic institutions are protected.
Election results should be determined by secret votes not secret voters.
Blaine Calkins, MP