Statements and Speeches: Commissioner of Canada Elections

Speaking Notes for an appearance before the
Standing Senate Committee on
Legal and Constitutional Affairs

November 22, 2018

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Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I am very pleased to appear before you today on the subject of Bill C-76. I am accompanied by our General Counsel, Mr. Marc Chénier.

Earlier this month, I was honoured to appear before the Committee of the Whole to discuss the subject matter of Bill C-76. At that time, I outlined our perspective on a number of the various new elements contained in the proposed legislation. Knowing that the Honourable Senators who are present here today are well-versed in these issues, I do not intend to revisit those comments now.

There are, however, two things that I would like to underscore with respect to Bill C-76.

The first is that it contains a number of measures that, if adopted, will significantly transform–and in a very positive way–the entire enforcement regime of the Canada Elections Act.

These changes, which stem from long-standing recommendations we have made over the years, are, from our perspective, extremely important. They would allow us to be more efficient and would better position our Office to deal with some of the new threats that lie ahead.

We are extremely happy to see that they are part of C-76.

The second point is one that both the Chief Electoral Officer and I have stressed.

Implementing the changes contained in C-76 – which includes, among other things the transfer of our Office to that of the Chief Electoral Officer, and the creation of a new division to manage the new administrative monetary penalties regime – is no small task. That the implementation of these changes will be taking place at the same time as we enter a critical phase in the preparation for the next general election creates added complexity and pressure for our organization.

For this reason, it is important that Bill C-76 should come into force as soon as possible so that we can, at the first opportunity, integrate these changes into our preparations.

I thank you for your attention.

We will be happy to respond to your questions.

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