Conservatives back down on Unfair Elections Act

OTTAWA – The Conservative government appears to be listening to hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have been speaking out against the proposed Fair Elections Act. Amendments announced today by Minister Pierre Poilievre will address the complete elimination of vouching that would have disenfranchised thousands of voters.

“Today’s announcement represents a clear victory for students and our allies who have been speaking out in opposition to the Unfair Elections Act,” said Jessica McCormick, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “The Conservative government is clearly rethinking its plan to make sweeping and undemocratic changes to Canadian elections.”

The proposed amendments include a provision that would allow voters who do not have identification that includes proof of address to co-sign an oath of residence and have another person attest to the voter’s address. This amendment is an alternative to vouching, which was used by more than 120,000 voters who did not have proof of address in the last federal election, including many students.

The amendments do not address the limitations on Elections Canada’s ability to engage in education and outreach initiatives that address low voter turnout, including youth voter outreach programs and a pilot project aimed at increasing voting by youth and students.

“Youth who vote will continue to vote throughout their lives,” said McCormick. “The Conservative government must continue to listen to Canadians and ensure Elections Canada has the ability to improve access to voting for students, youth, and low income and Aboriginal people.”

A Day of Action is planned for tomorrow, April 26th to continue this momentum and educate the public about the many damaging changes still present in the bill. A full list of events can be found here.

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s largest student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students in all ten provinces. The Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organisations have represented students in Canada since 1927.

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For more information, please contact:
Jessica McCormick, National Chairperson, (613) 232-7394

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