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News Release

Illegal Federal Election Shows Clear Need For Changes to Increase Turnout, and Ensure Honesty, Fairness, Ethics and Representation

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

OTTAWA - Today, Democracy Watch called on the leaders of federal political parties to work together to make changes to the federal Elections Act to respect voter rights, increase disturbingly low voter turnout, ensure election fairness and ethics, and ensure a representative Parliament is elected, in future federal elections.
The key changes needed to the federal Elections Act are as follows::

  • require “honesty-in-politics” with high fines as the penalty for breaking promises or switching parties (with only a few justifiable exceptions) or making any false claims -- For details, click here;
  • if Democracy Watch loses its current court case, then actually fix election dates;
  • give voters the right to refuse their ballot (as is legal in Ontario and Alberta elections) so that voters can vote for “none of the above” (and require Elections Canada to feature this right in all their election promotion materials);
  • change the voting system to ensure a Parliament that accurately reflects each party’s voter support (while ensuring small parties do not have undue power);
  • ensure MPs represent voters not party leaders by prohibiting party leaders from appointing candidates (with only a few justifiable exceptions), prohibiting party headquarters from making large donations or loans to candidates and riding associations (instead give riding associations a fair portion of the $1.89 per vote party financing), and ensuring a separation of riding vs. national campaign spending;
  • if Democracy Watch loses its other current court case, then clearly prohibit lobbyists from serving in any senior election campaign positions for candidates or parties;
  • reduce the voter identification requirement to one piece of ID with name and address, and increase opportunities to register as a voter even on election day (and extend election day to two days);
  • empower Elections Canada to make merit-based decision about leaders debates;
  • limit loans to all candidates and parties as donations have been limited -- For details on this and following money-in-politics loopholes, click here;
  • as with election candidates, ban secret, unlimited donations and gifts to nomination race candidates;
  • as party leadership campaign candidates are required to do, require all candidates and parties to disclose publicly all their donations, and the status of any loans, during the week before election day, so voters know who is bankrolling campaigns;
  • include the requirement to disclose the names of the employers of donors, and the names of volunteers (to ensure that corporations and other large organizations are not funnelling donations of money or time through their employees), and; 
  • require the media to report equally all survey numbers, especially undecided voters, to end the misleading hype of polls often seen in the past three elections.
"It is incredible that 141 years after the creation of Canada our election process is still unfair and undemocratic," said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch.  "All the federal parties must make it a priority to correct the many flaws so that future federal elections will actually be fair and democratic."

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Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179

Democracy Watch's Federal Election 2008 webpage

Democracy Watch's Clean Up the System webpage