5 things you should know about Bill C-23

(Hailey Chan/ Ryersonian staff)

(Hailey Chan/ Ryersonian staff)

Protestors rallied on Tuesday against a new bill that would change the Fair Elections Act. About 25 people taped their mouths shut outside Conservative MP Joe Oliver’s office in response to the new changes.

The act, known as Bill C-23, is currently under the eyes of the House of Commons. Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Polievre introduced the new changes on Feb. 4 and the House will look at the proposals on May 1.

The Fair Elections Act currently sets out the rules and regulations for voters, candidates and political parties. It aims to regulate fair and equal elections. But protestors say the act will challenge voter fairness.

“Transition, that’s what university is about and they don’t always have the same accomodation,” said protest organizer Sharon Howarth, outside Conservative MP Joe Oliver’s office. “What this act is going to do, Harper’s act, is make it more difficult for students.”

The Ryersonian takes a look of the main changes, as outlined in Bill C-23, that will affect students voters the most.

1. The act will prevent voters from the “vouching system.” The system allows voters without the proper identification to ask a member of the same polling division to “vouch” and affirm a voter’s identity. In 2011, 120,000 Canadians relied on the vouching system.

2. The act will disallow the use of a Voter Identification Card, accompanied with another form of ID at polling stations. A piece of ID with an address and photo is now a requirement. This creates a problem for young voters without a driver’s license, students living away from home, native Canadians living on a reserve (they use postal codes) and senior citizens.

3. Elections Canada can no longer communicate with voters. The Chief Electoral Officer can only speak to the public about the following:
– How to become a candidate
– How to have your name added to the list of electors/to have your information corrected
– How/where/when to vote
– How to establish your identity at the polling place
– How to assist electors with disabilities to access polls

4. It would raise the limit for campaign spending limit, if the election period is longer than 36 days. The limit is up to $650,000 per day, per party. In the act, the minimum election period is already 37 days.

5. The bill removes the commissioner of Canada Elections and gives the role of responsibility and accountability to the director of public prosecutions.

Shot by Samantha Lui.

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