Democratic reform minister says controversial elections bill ’terrific’ as it is

The Conservative minister responsible for a controversial overhaul of federal election rules says the proposed bill is terrific as it is and critics will have to wait another month to see if any changes are made.

OTTAWA — The Conservative minister responsible for a controversial overhaul of federal election rules says the proposed bill is terrific as it is and critics will have to wait another month to see if any changes are made.

Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre is brushing off the latest critical broadside against Bill C-23, even as some Conservative senators talk of possible amendments.

Elections commissioner Yves Cote, the chief investigator of electoral wrongdoing, is the latest expert to say the bill has big problems — notably that it will slow his team’s work while failing to give Elections Canada critical new investigative tools.

The bill is being studied by a Conservative-dominated committee and Poilievre says it will be up to MPs on the committee to decide whether to amend the legislation when they report in May.

Erin O’Toole, a Conservative on the committee, says part of the resistance from elections experts can be attributed to people simply not liking change.

Two Conservative senators say the criticism of the Fair Elections Act amounts to hysteria, although they believe Poilievre may be open to changes on voter identification.

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