The Trudeau government is taking steps to deliver on some of the Liberals’ election campaign promises to reform Canada’s election laws.
The feds are expected to introduce a bill on Thursday to restore the right to vote to expatriates who’ve lived outside the country for more than five years.
Expats are currently not allowed to vote via special ballots if they’ve lived longer than five years abroad.
Suspicion remains that Justin Trudeau may back pedal on his commitment to replace Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system.
Late Tuesday, Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef served the required 48-hours notice that she will introduce a bill to change the Canada Elections Act and make “consequential amendments” to other legislation.
Trudeau vowed during the election campaign to roll out new limits for how much money political parties can spend between elections, review spending limits during elections and create an independent commission to organize leaders’ debates during elections.
He also promised to eliminate some of the most contentious provisions of the previous Conservative government’s controversial Fair Elections Act which, the Liberals claimed, made it more difficult for Canadians to vote and easier for lawbreakers to avoid being reprimanded.
Trudeau said he would restore the use of voter information cards as valid pieces of identification at the polls, ease restrictions on the chief electoral officer’s ability to communicate with voters, provide Elections Canada with the necessary resources to investigate violations of the law, restore the independence of the commissioner of elections – who investigates suspected violations – and introduce harsher penalties for anyone who breaks the law.
It remains unclear which campaign promises may be included in the bill, which is expected to be followed up with more legislation dealing with other campaign pledges.
Monsef plans to introduce separate legislation in the spring to potentially wipe out the first-past-the-post voting system, but also stressed that the government won’t proceed without broad consensus.
By December 1st, an ll-party committee is expected to report back to the government with its recommendations for reforms.