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Protestors deliver mass elections petition to MP's office

Kerry-Lynne Findlay's office received 80,000 signature petition in opposition to the proposed Fair Elections Act

A petition was delivered to MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay’s constituency office in Ladner Tuesday opposing the controversial Fair Elections Act.

The MP for Delta-Richmond East didn’t receive the 80,000-plus signatures personally because she was in Ottawa, but Ladner resident Edwin Hopkins dropped it off anyway, part of a campaign that saw the same petition delivered to over two dozen MPs’ offices across the country.

Gathered by such groups as the Canadian Federation of Students and the Council of Canadians, the petition calls on the government to scrap the proposed bill, which is now in the House of Commons.

The government introduced the bill, citing a need to combat voter fraud and update campaign finance rules, but critics contend the changes are politically motivated, creating unnecessarily strict voter ID requirements that could prevent hundreds of thousands from voting in the next election.            

“The justification is to prevent alleged voter fraud, whereas in reality, in more than 20 years there’s been no more than eight cases of such voter fraud,” said Hopkins. “So they want to take the vote away from 120,000 people because of eight cases.”

Under the current rules, “vouching” for someone who does not have proper ID is permitted, allowing that individual to vote.

In the 2011 federal election, about 120,000 people were allowed to vote that way, but under the new rules, it would no longer be permitted.

The bill also eliminates people being able to use a voter information card they get in the mail as a way to corroborate where they live.

According to the Conservative government, studies commissioned by Elections Canada demonstrate mass irregularities in the use of vouching and inaccuracy on voter information cards.

The bill also has a number of other changes, including banning Elections Canada from running advertisements encouraging people to get out and vote.

Hopkins said it appears to be part of a voter suppression move by the Conservatives, aimed at people who would be less inclined to vote for the current government.

He added the proposed legislation also reduces the investigation powers of Elections Canada, making such acts as the “robocalls” scandal even harder to investigate.

Facilitated by, the petition delivery was part of what was dubbed the Let People Vote national day of action.