September 27, 2016 1:29 pm
Updated: September 28, 2016 10:56 am

Elections watchdog: Cap campaigns, seek broad support for changing laws

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OTTAWA – The chief electoral officer says Canada should consider requiring the support of more than just a simple majority of parliamentarians before making any changes to election laws.

The proposal in Marc Mayrand’s final report to Parliament could be seen as advice to the current Liberal government, which has promised to replace Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system in time for the next election.

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But it could also be a response to the controversial Fair Elections Act, passed by the previous Conservative government over the strenuous objections of all opposition parties and a host of electoral experts — including Mayrand himself.

Mayrand, who is retiring at the end of the year after nearly a decade at the helm of Elections Canada, makes a number of recommendations to undo some the act’s provisions.

For instance, he urges the government to restore the use of voter information cards as valid pieces of ID at polling stations, make it easier to vouch for someone without ID and restore the chief electoral officer’s power to conduct voter education and information campaigns.

Mayrand also recommends that election campaigns be capped at a maximum of 45 to 50 days to avoid a repeat of last fall’s 78-day marathon.

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