Liberals commit to protecting Canadians’ right to vote

OTTAWA – After the Harper decade, marked by a governing party that breaks election rules time and again, a new Liberal government will protect voters now and restore the integrity of Canada’s elections, said Liberals today.

“Under Stephen Harper, Conservatives broke election rules in 2006, in 2008, and in 2011, so Canadians are rightfully concerned now in 2015,” said Liberal candidate for Halifax West, Geoff Regan. “Three elections, two ousted MPs, one guilty plea, two guilty verdicts, and thousands of disenfranchised voters – this is the Harper Conservatives’ electoral record.”

In 2006, the “In and Out” scandal saw the Conservatives build a scheme to intentionally circumvent Elections Canada rules so they could exceed campaign spending limits. The Conservatives pled guilty to breaking the law and paid the highest possible fine. For actions taken in 2008, Dean Del Mastro – Harper’s chief spokesperson on ethics – was charged with four breaches of the Canada Elections Act and was sent to jail. In the 2011 “Robocall” scandal, a Federal Court judge stated that electoral fraud did occur during the election, and that the Conservative Party’s voter database was the most likely source of information used to make the misleading calls. These calls were a deliberate attempt to try to deny Canadian citizens their right to vote, and they ended with a guilty verdict and jail time for a Conservative operative.

 “Given the Conservative record of electoral misdeeds, the Liberal Party is encouraging Canadians who experience irregularities during this election to complete our Voter Incident Report,” said Liberal candidate for Hull–Aylmer, Greg Fergus. “As we saw in 2011, irregularities might include: receiving coordinated, misleading phone calls; being denied the right to vote due to identification issues; or witnessing the organized destruction of campaign signs. We will operate a dedicated phone line on Election Day so Canadians can report any incidents. The Liberal Party Voter Protection Service has one goal – to help voters when they run into election problems.”

“If elected, a Liberal government will also work to restore the integrity of our elections through three key measures: by strengthening the Canada Elections Act, cracking down on election fraud, and supporting Indigenous voices across the country,” said Liberal candidate for Ottawa Centre, Catherine McKenna. “To try and deny a voter their democratic right to cast a ballot is among the most arrogant and shameful acts in politics. The last three elections have shown Canadians that, this time around, all voters must be vigilant and we must actively protect our right to vote for real change in our country.”