Elections law changes would register robocalls, raise spending caps

The Harper government is introducing legislation to toughen up parts of Canada’s election law, while loosening the rules that govern political donations and party spending.

OTTAWA — The Harper government is introducing legislation to toughen up parts of Canada’s election law, while loosening the rules that govern political donations and party spending.

The bill includes a mandatory public registry for automated election calls and jail time for anyone convicted of impersonating an elections official, said Pierre Poilievre, the junior minister in charge of democratic reform.

“It closes loopholes to big money, imposes new penalties on political impostors who make rogue calls and empowers law enforcement with sharper teeth, a longer reach and a freer hand,” Poilievre said.

The legislation would move the office of the commissioner of elections under the mantle of the public prosecutor’s office. The commissioner is responsible for enforcing the elections law.

Yves Cote, the incumbent commissioner, has more than five years left in his term.

In future, the commissioner would be appointed by the director of public prosecutions to a non-renewable, seven-year term. And the legislation bars former political candidates, political party employees, ministerial or MP staffers or employees of Elections Canada from being named commissioner.

The changes would also raise the individual political donation limit to $1,500 from $1,200 and increase party spending limits by five per cent. Union and corporate donations are still banned.

The legislation would also tighten ID requirements for voters. Having someone vouch for another’s identity at the polling place will no longer be permitted. And it would also lift a long-standing ban on the premature transmission of election results, allowing voters in Western Canada to know what’s happening before going to the polls.

Poilievre said the bill will make laws stricter, but also easier to follow.

“The Fair Elections Act will ensure everyday citizens are in charge of democracy by putting special interests on the sidelines and rule-breakers out of business.”

NDP critic Craig Scott, who responded immediately after Poilievre’s news conference, said the legislation demands a close examination.

“Do we trust this government without reading every word as carefully as possible?” Scott said. “We have to see exactly what the wording is.”

Scott said he fears the bill may be salted with obscure provisions that would serve to help the Conservatives in the next election.

Just Posted

Trudeau poised to shuffle, retool cabinet with focus on Liberals’ team for 2019

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau will shuffle his front benches Wednesday to install… Continue reading

Aecon Group joint venture wins Enbridge Line 3 replacement contract

TORONTO — Aecon Group Inc. says its joint venture with Robert B.… Continue reading

Conservative party pulls attack ad of black man walking over Trudeau tweet

OTTAWA — The Conservative party pulled an attack ad from its Twitter… Continue reading

Groundbreaking ceremony held for new international bridge

DETROIT — U.S. and Canadian officials touted the friendship between the two… Continue reading

Elon Musk apologizes for calling cave rescue diver a ‘pedo’

BANGKOK — Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has apologized for calling… Continue reading

Destiny’s Child singer Williams seeks mental health help

LOS ANGELES — Destiny’s Child singer Michelle Williams says she’s seeking help… Continue reading

A Comic-Con without Marvel, HBO gives others a chance to pop

Over 130,000 pop culture devotees are descending on San Diego’s Gaslamp District… Continue reading

Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game 8-6 in 10 innings

American League 8 National League 6 (1o innings) WASHINGTON — A record… Continue reading

Photos: Red Deer barn dance entertains children, adults Tuesday

Hundreds of Central Albertans started their Westerner Days celebrations early with an… Continue reading

Man suffers critical injuries, Red Deer police arrest woman in pedestrian crash

A man is in hospital with critical injuries and Mounties have arrested… Continue reading

Cull hasn’t been able to solve bunny burden in Alberta mountain town of Canmore

CANMORE, Alta. — Problems persist in an Alberta mountain town overrun with… Continue reading

Canada should help Holocaust denier on trial in Germany: civil liberties group

OTTAWA — A civil liberties group is urging the Canadian government to… Continue reading

Westerner Days: Send us your photos

Your reader photo may just make the pages of the Adovcate.

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