This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
PARLIAMENTARY REPORT


CANADA


LOW VOTER TURNOUT AT CANADIAN FEDERAL BY-ELECTIONS


On 30 June, four federal by-elections took place. Two of them were in Alberta ridings won by the Conservative Party in the last four general elections (2004, 2006, 2008 and 2011). The other two were in Toronto, Ontario, where the Liberal Party won the riding of Scarborough—Agincourt in the past four elections and the New Democratic Party (NDP) won the riding of Trinity—Spadina in the past three elections, after the Liberal Party took it in 2004. In the by-elections, the Conservative Party retained its two seats in Alberta and the Liberal Party won both seats in Toronto. In terms of the parties’ share of the vote, there were some notable shifts. In Alberta, the Conservative Party share in the riding of Macleod fell from 77.5 per cent in 2011 to 68.8 per cent. In the riding of Fort McMurray— Athabasca, it decreased from 71.8 per cent in 2011 to 46.8 per cent, while the Liberal Party share went from 10.4 per cent to 35.3 per cent. In the Toronto riding of Trinity— Spadina, the NDP share of the vote fell from 54.5 per cent in 2011 to 34.1 per cent, while the Liberal Party share went from 23.4 per cent to 53.7 per cent. In the riding of Scarborough—Agincourt, the Liberal Party increased its share of the vote from 45.4 per cent in 2011 to 59.3 per cent. Despite the results voter turnout was extremely low. The by-elections were held on a Monday, the day before Canada Day (a national holiday), and many people were more likely enjoying


202 | The Parliamentarian | 2014: Issue Three


Disappointing voter turnout in the riding of Fort McMurray—Athabasca


the warm summer weather than preferring to head inside and vote. In the riding of Fort McMurray— Athabasca, turnout was a mere 15.2 per cent, and in Macleod it was 19.6 per cent. In the Toronto ridings, turnout was higher, yet was still only in the 30 per cent range.


On a related issue, the Ontario Superior Court, in May, regarded unconstitutional the provisions of the Canada Elections Act under which citizens who had not lived in Canada for over five years were not entitled to vote. When the by-elections were called, Elections Canada announced it would no longer enforce these provisions. The federal government announced that it would appeal the ruling and asked for it to be stayed, but the request was denied by the Ontario Court of Appeal.


Legislation


Prior to the summer adjournment of Parliament on 20 June, over a dozen bills received Royal


Assent. As reported in 2014: Issue Two of The Parliamentarian, Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, had been the subject of a number of amendments in the House of Commons. On 12 June, the Senate passed the Bill without further amendments and it went on to receive Royal Assent. Another Bill to receive Royal Assent was Bill C-31, the Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1, also known as the budget implementation act. It contained measures on a wide range of issues, including international treaties on trademarks, programmes for immigrants and the rules governing the transportation of beer and spirits between provinces. While the Bill was in the Senate, the Committee on National Finance and five other committees examined sections of the Bill. Bill C-24, the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, also received Royal Assent. This Bill addressed the issue of the


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84