Imminent bill to reform election laws may be too late to implement for 2019 vote

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government will finally move Monday on a raft of promised reforms to election laws, but it may already be too late to fully implement them in time for the 2019 federal election.

Acting chief electoral officer Stephane Perrault told a House of Commons committee this week that major changes to election laws should have been enacted by April of this year if they were intended to apply in the next election — and the government hasn’t even come close to meeting that timetable.

It did introduce Bill C-33 in November 2016, which was meant to be the first of two bills to deliver on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promises to reform the democratic process.

The bill was aimed at undoing what Liberals saw as the most egregious of the changes wrought by the previous Conservative government’s Fair Elections Act, restoring the use of the voter information card as a valid piece of identification and reviving the practice of vouching for a voter without ID. It would also restore the chief electoral officer’s authority to conduct voter education and outreach and move the commissioner of elections, who enforces election laws, back under the auspices of Elections Canada.

And it would repeal the prohibition on voting by expat Canadians who’ve been out of the country for more than five years.

But C-33 has remained parked at the introductory stage for 17 months.

Now, the government is expected to roll the contents of C-33 into a new bill to be introduced Monday, which will also encompass the other democratic reform promises Trudeau made in 2015: limiting spending by political parties in the run-up to the official campaign period, possibly reducing spending limits during campaigns and creating an independent commission to organize televised leaders’ debates.

Just Posted

Life and death: Mistake sent one family to funeral home, the other to hospital

Doctors told Jody Littlewolf that her daughter was brain dead and should… Continue reading

‘Still beautiful:’ Waterton Lakes National Park prepares for life after fire

WATERTON, Alta. — Parks Canada officials and businesses in Waterton say there… Continue reading

British royal family thanks those who celebrated wedding

LONDON — The royal family, blessed with fantastic weather and a buoyant… Continue reading

Cougar kills 1 mountain biker, injures 2nd near Seattle

NORTH BEND, Wash. — Two friends on a morning mountain bike ride… Continue reading

Red Deer’s indoor trampoline park announces closure

Citing mounting costs, Red Deer’s indoor trampoline park recently announced it was… Continue reading

Red Deer Silhouettes prepare for year-end show

Synchronized swimming team will perform its last show this season May 30

How a 94-year-old retiree became a gym rat

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Like many gym rats, Paul Russell lifts weights… Continue reading

‘Like a warzone:’ People evacuated as fires burn through Manitoba city’s downtown

BRANDON, Man. — Leanne Marlow saw the flames engulf the building across… Continue reading

Canadians celebrate mix of pageantry, modern twists in royal wedding

As the freshly minted Duke and Duchess of Sussex embark on married… Continue reading

Maduro favoured as Venezuelans vote amid crisis

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is expected to win a… Continue reading

Family, friends recall shooting victims’ optimism, humour

SANTA FE, Texas — Hardworking. Funny. Loving. Grieving family and friends recalled… Continue reading

Record Everest climber returns, already planning next trip

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A veteran Sherpa guide who scaled Mount Everest for… Continue reading

WATCH: First Red Deer Market of the year

Hundreds came out to the first farmers market of 2018 Saturday

Canadian families among throngs of royal fans camping out for glimpse of newlyweds

WINDSOR, United Kingdom — Intense security measures, massive crowds, jet lag and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month