February 20th, 2014

NDP wants parliament to force cross-country hearings on election reform bill

New Democrats have introduced an Opposition Day motion that would force cross-country hearings on the Conservative election bill—C-23.

“C-23 is rigged to make voting more difficult for hundreds of thousands of Canadians,” said NDP deputy leader David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre) whose motion will be debated on Monday, February 24. “New Democrats are fighting for our democracy and dedicating our next opposition day to a motion that would force cross-country hearings on C-23.”

“The Conservatives wanted to fundamentally undermine the voting rights of many Canadians without anyone noticing,” said NDP Democratic Reform critic Craig Scott (Toronto-Danforth). “We won’t let them run away from accountability.”

The motion comes days after the NDP launched a national petition campaign which has garnered over 7,000 signatures. The motion states:

That it be an instruction to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that, during its consideration of Bill C-23, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, the Committee shall: a) hear witnesses from, but not limited to, Elections Canada, political parties as defined under the Canada Elections Act, the Minister of State who introduced the bill, representatives of First Nations, anti-poverty groups, groups representing persons with disabilities, groups representing youth advocates and students, as well as specific groups which have been active in society on elections rules; b) have the power to travel to all regions of Canada, (Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Northern Ontario, the Prairies, British Columbia and the North), including downtown urban settings, rural and remote settings, and that the Committee request that this travel take place in March and April 2014; and c) only proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill after these hearings have been completed, with a goal to commence clause-by-clause consideration on Thursday, May 1, 2014.