Communique #6 – Legislation
National Chairperson of Legislation Betty Colaneri, October 15, 2019
My sisters in the League,
The Canada Elections Act is current to July 1, 2019 and was last amended on June 13, 2019. According to the Act a federal election must be held on the third Monday of October in the fourth calendar year following the previous federal election. That important date is fast approaching. The federal election will be held on Monday, October 21st.
There are two bills related to the Canada Elections Act that received royal assent.
- Bill C-76 Elections Modernization Act received royal assent December 13, 2018. “This enactment amends the Canada Elections Act to establish spending limits for third parties and political parties during a defined period before the election period of a general election held on a day fixed under that Act. It also establishes measures to increase transparency regarding the participation of third parties in the electoral process.”
- Bill C-50 An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (political financing) received royal assent June 21, 2018. “This enactment amends the Canada Elections Act to (a) enact an advertising and reporting regime for fundraising events attended by Ministers, party leaders or leadership contestants; and (b) harmonize the rules applicable to contest expenses of nomination contestants and leadership contestants with the rules applicable to election expenses of candidates.”
The eligibility for voting is simple—a Canadian citizen aged 18 or older on election day with proof of identity and address. Elections.ca provides a great deal of information on the voting process, how to vote, and addresses many questions members may have.
It is essential to look at the platforms of candidates running for office and what they stand for before casting a vote. The main contending party platforms can be downloaded from party websites:
Information regarding how the main parties compare on issues can be found on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation website, newsinteractives.cbc.ca/elections/federal/2019/party-platforms/.
There are two resources that may help with issues regarding values, views and concerns of Canadians from a Catholic perspective. One resource is provided by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) permanent council called Voting as Catholics: 2019 Federal Election Guide. The final paragraph of the guide sums up citizens’ responsibility and the importance of voting. “It is a sign of a healthy democratic community when informed and responsible citizens engage in an ongoing dialogue on major social issues with their political leaders. This is precisely the kind of community we should strive to support and develop. No less is expected of us, since all are called to take an active part in morally shaping the societies we inhabit and, Christians in particular, to defend the rights of those who are most vulnerable.”
The second resource is a booklet available for purchase from Novalis called, For Heaven’s Sake, Vote! Your Guide to Catholic Social Teaching and the Federal Election, by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto. The Novalis website (en.novalis.ca) refers to the booklet as, “Our actions matter, and so does our vote, because it can turn our country’s government towards greater justice. Our vote can lead to greater economic security and opportunity, or marginalization and hopelessness – for the peoples of Canada and for our brothers and sisters in need around the world.”
A September 2019 poll from the Angus Reid Institute asked Canadians, “What is the top issue facing the country?” The following are the results reported by the institute in “Balancing act: Majorities say both climate action, oil & gas growth should be top priorities for next government.”
- Environment/climate change (33%)
- Health care (20%)
- Deficit (15%)
- Economy (14%)
- Integrity, Ethics (13%)
- Energy sector/oil prices (10%)
- Job/unemployment (7%)
- Terrorism/security (4%)
For those who ask the question why should I vote? Will it make a difference? Consider that voting is:
- a privilege of democracy that people in some regions of the world are not able to do and would love to
- a right past generations fought for and died to preserve a chance to influence the government
- an opportunity to choose representatives
- an opportunity to vote for change
- a way of sending a message
- a way to set an example for future generations and show how important it is to vote
Encourage members to vote on October 21st. May Our Lord guide us in our discernment so we may choose leaders who hear His word and work toward building a just nation.