Canada’s election laws may be about to change. A major government bill, the Fair Elections Act, is working its way through the House of Commons but has proven controversial. Pierre Poilievre, Canada’s Minister of State for Democratic Reform recently bought forth Bill C-23, which propose changes to the rules for voters, candidates, parties and the people whose job it is to make sure elections are fair.

The Harper Government says it will boost penalties for offences, reduce voter fraud and empower political parties, as opposed to Elections Canada, to drive voter turnout. For many voters, it will be harder to cast a ballot because vouching for someone will no longer be an option, a system the government argues is too vulnerable to fraud. Elections Canada will not, as in the past, be able to run advertising campaigns encouraging people to vote, while political donation limits are set to go up. Also among proposals in the Fair Elections Act; sitting MP’s would be selecting election workers at polling stations in their riding.

The speaker will assess the overall fairness of the proposed legislation and speculate on whether some of the suggestions from opposition parties and the Senate panel will be included in the act before it is finally passed into law.

Speaker: Duane Bratt, Ph.D.

Duane Bratt is Chair and Professor in the Department of Policy Studies at Mount Royal University (Calgary, Alberta). He was educated at the Universities of Windsor (BA 1991, MA 1992) and Alberta (Ph.D. 1996). He teaches in the area of international relations and Canadian public policy, with specialty in the sub-field of Canadian foreign policy. His primary research interest is in the area of Canadian nuclear policy. Recent publications include: Canada, the Provinces, and the Global Nuclear Revival (McGill-Queen’s University Press: Montreal and Kingston, 2012) and co-editor, Readings in Canadian Foreign Policy: Classic Debates and New Ideas 2nd edition (Oxford University Press: Toronto, 2011). Duane is also a regular commentator on political events.

Moderator: Keith McLaughlin

Date: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Time: Noon - 1:30 PM
Location: Country Kitchen Catering (Lower level of The Keg) 1715 Mayor Magrath Dr S
Cost: $11.00 (includes lunch)

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