New Election Law Bad for Voters: NDP

OTTAWA - Strict changes to the requirement for voter identification could disenfranchise thousands of voters, say two NDP MPs. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) and Libby Davies (Vancouver East) are raising concerns today about Bill C-31, an Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Public Service Employment Act.

The NDP is also concerned that Elections Canada will now have the authority to collect and share the birth date information of Canadian voters.

“We have to protect the integrity of the voting system,” said Davies. “New requirements for voter I.D. will add further barriers to voting for marginalized, low-income people, and seriously undermine the right to vote,” added Davies, whose riding includes the Downtown East Side, where hundreds of people live in homeless shelters and rooming homes.

The proposed legislation also raises concerns about data sharing and confidentiality.

“The Conservative bill would require electors’ birth date information to be shared with Elections Canada,” said Dewar. “Compounding this potential breach of privacy was the Bloc amendment at Committee, supported by the Liberals and Conservatives, to allow the information to be shared with all registered political parties. Why do political parties need our birth dates? I am convinced that ordinary Canadians would not welcome this intrusion into their privacy. The NDP is committed to stopping the ever-widening distribution of such a large amount of data.”

The Bill is at third reading stage and, if passed, would be in effect for the next federal election.

This Press Release was posted on February 13, 2007