Elections Canada, Elections Alberta, and other election law enforcement agencies across Canada, are allowed to keep their rulings secret on complaints that voters file with them during and in-between elections. Elections Canada is currently keeping more than 3,000 rulings secret on complaints filed since 1997. This pattern of secrecy shows the clear need for a public inquiry into how Elections Canada has been enforcing the law over the past decade.
These rulings must be disclosed to ensure that election agencies are accountable watchdogs for fair elections, not lapdogs that ignore violations or make biased, unfair or ineffective rulings.
As well, mandatory minimum penalties are needed to discourage violations, and to ensure that election agencies penalize violators effectively.
The penalty for false election robocalls and messages and other serious violations must be jail terms and fines, and also that the election candidate or candidates associated with the person or organization who books or pays for the call will not be allowed to be a member of the legislature, or a Cabinet appointee, for 7 years (this is the current penalty for some types of election fraud in the federal Elections Act, and this strong penalty is needed to ensure false robocalls and messages and other clearly unfair actions are not used to try to win elections or by-elections). As well, anyone involved in the fraud must lose any severance payment, and have a partial clawback of any pension payments.
Measures that increase the penalties for false robocalls and other serious violations will help ensure fair elections, but there are also enforcement problems.
Elections Canada has failed to disclose the rulings it has made on more than 3,000 complaints it has received since 1997, and has recently made some very questionable rulings.
Elections Canada must be required to disclose every ruling it has made in the past 15 years, and every ruling it makes in the future, to ensure it proves to Canadians that it enforces the law fairly and properly (and election agencies across Canada must also be required to disclose all their rulings).
As well, all election agencies across Canada must be required to regularly audit donations, spending by parties and candidates, and voting, and to conduct post-election audits after each general and by-election, with all the results made public, and they must be required to correct problems revealed by the audits.
Please let me know what you will do to ensure that these changes are made as soon as possible. I will be deciding which political party to vote for in the next election based on the responses I receive from representatives in each party. I look forward to hearing from you.