Opposition Motion – Canada Elections Act (B)

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should, within six months, table amendments to the Elections Canada Act and other legislation as required that would ensure that in all future election campaigns: (a) Elections Canada investigation capabilities be strengthened, to include giving the Chief Electoral Officer the power to request all necessary documents from political parties to ensure compliance with the Elections Act; (b) all telecommunication companies that provide voter contact services during a general election must register with Elections Canada; and (c) all clients of telecommunication companies during a general election have their identity registered and verified.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to address a question to the hon. leader of the Liberal Party. He made reference to the fact that we have seen in previous election campaigns instances of election crime, essentially. Calls misdirected voters and reported to be from the Bloc when they were not.


The most comprehensive example of a previous election fraud effort was in Saanich—Gulf Islands in 2008. Robocalls were made to NDP supporters to get out in support of a candidate who was actually no longer in the race. This allegedly and arguably changed the result of the election and denied the Liberals a seat. The NDP members were so upset in Saanich—Gulf Islands by this crime that even though it was a Liberal Party candidate who was the biggest victim, the NDP filed a complaint with Elections Canada. The Liberals filed a complaint. Elections Canada simply did not get to the bottom of it.

I would like to ask the hon. member for Toronto Centre if it is too late to go back to what is essentially a cold case to figure out who stole the election in 2008 in Saanich—Gulf Islands?

Hon. Bob Rae: Mr. Speaker, the simple, hard fact is a lot of calls are hard to trace. It is no accident that they are hard to trace. Offshore calls are particularly hard to trace. It would not be difficult to place offshore calls into Saanich—Gulf Islands.

This is something that we all have to come to grips with. To repeat the quote that I made before, “In this world today, all you needs is a computer and access to the Internet, and you can have access to all kinds of things. It is very difficult to trace them”. I think that is something we have to take a hold of. We need to make sure that all of the calls made are not only reported to Elections Canada, but that a record of those calls is kept for an extended period of time.