Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Legal and Constitutional Affairs
Issue 15 - Evidence, November 8, 2001
OTTAWA, Thursday, November 8, 2001
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs met this day
at 11:00 a.m. to review the regulation proposed by the Chief Electoral Officer.
Senator Lorna Milne (Chairman) in the Chair.
The Chairman: Honourable senators, I see a quorum. We are meeting to
consider the regulation proposed by the Chief Electoral Officer. We have before
us Jean-Pierre Kingsley, the Chief Electoral Officer. We also have Diane
Davidson, Chief Legal Officer, and Holly McManus, Deputy Chief Legal Officer.
Please proceed with your presentation.
Mr. Jean-Pierre Kingsley, Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada:
Thank you, Madam Chair. I would like to take this opportunity to discuss with
you the Canada Elections Act as Adapted for the Purposes of a Referendum, also
known as the Referendum Regulation, and to answer any questions that the members
of the committee might like to ask.
I am accompanied today by Diane Davidson, Chief Legal Officer, and Holly
McManus, Assistant Chief Legal Officer.
The Referendum Act allows the Governor in Council to proclaim a referendum to
consult the Canadian electorate on any matter relating to the Canadian
The Referendum Act states that the Chief Electoral Officer may, by regulation,
adapt the Canada Elections Act to apply it in respect of a referendum. This is
what we have done through the proposed regulation.
Your committee has been designated to study the proposed regulation. I am
pleased to be here, not only to answer your questions, but also to take note of
any recommendation you might have. No doubt you have noticed that each time I
appear before your committee, you make a number of observations and I always
return to inform you of any follow-up action I may have taken.
The process that we followed, as required by the Referendum Act, was to adapt
the Canada Elections Act in order to make it compatible with a referendum
process. The purpose is to enable the referendum process to function within a
framework that is, as much as possible, identical to that of an election.
An adaptation is required rather than a complete rewriting of the Canada
Elections Act because that Act already covers some of the elements essential to
holding an election, such as the list of electors and the voting procedure,
elements that are equally indispensable for the conduct of a referendum.
Obviously, in a referendum, there are no candidates, no political parties as
such and no third party election advertising. There are, however, one or more
referendum questions. There are also referendum committees. These must register
with the Chief Electoral Officer if they intend to spend more than $5,000 during
the referendum period. The elements particular to a referendum had to be taken
into account in the adaptation.
The first referendum regulation was made in 1992, following the adoption of the
Referendum Act. It was under this legislation that the 1992 referendum was held.
The Canada Elections Act was subsequently amended in 1993 by Bill C-114, and in
1996 byBill C-63.
After the adoption of each of these bills, the affected portions of the Canada
Elections Act in the referendum regulation were amended. In 1998 and in 1999,
minor amendments of a terminological nature were made to the Canada Elections
Act that did not affect the application of the regulation. No further adaptation
was made at that time.
In addition, Bill C-2 was on the verge of being adopted and was to introduce a
completely new Canada Elections Act. This new Canada Elections Act, including
the changes introduced by the adoption of Bill C-23, came into force on
September 1, 2000. The general election of November 27th, 2000, was conducted
under this legislation shortly thereafter. It monopolized all of our efforts. In
addition, we learned by that Bill C-9 was in the works. For these reasons, the
process leading to the adoption of referendum regulation was delayed until now.
Bill C-9 has since been adopted. It dealt with technical amendments to the
Canada Elections Act, and I appear before your committee to discuss that matter.
The changes that it introduced are part of the proposed referendum regulation
that honourable senators now have.
Schedule 2 of the current Referendum Act lists the provisions of the Canada
Elections Act not applicable in respect of a referendum. The Canada Elections
Act has, however, been amended several times since 1992, when schedule 2 was
Schedule 2, therefore, no longer correctly indicates the numbers of the
provisions of the Canada Elections Act that Parliament had intended to exclude
from the referendum process. In order to give effect to the legislators'
intention when adapting the Canada Elections Act for the purposes of a
referendum the references were considered ambulatory, in that they incorporate
the amendments made to the Canada Elections Act. It was necessary to establish a
concordance between the provisions of the old and the new versions of the Canada
This is the approach that was used in the past. In 1996, we updated schedule 2,
which dated from 1992. Parliament recognized this approach by adopting schedule
2 that same year. Consequently, we updated schedule 2 for the purposes of the
consolidation that we must publish at this time.
In order to meet operational requirements we, in rare instances, had to comply
with the legislators' intent by doing more than a simple concordance. Subsection
227(3) of the Canada Elections Act, for example, pertains to the way a
candidate's name is indicated on a special ballot. In a referendum there are no
candidates. Yet this provision is not included in schedule 2. We had no choice
but to make this provision non-applicable, and that is the kind of example we
are talking about.
Last October 30, I appeared before the Standing Committee on Procedure and House
Affairs. I thought I detected a certain amount of unease among MPs with the idea
that legislation such as the Canada Elections Act as Adapted for the Purposes of
a Referendum was the product of the work of an officer of Parliament, rather
than a legislator. I also indicated that I preferred this responsibility to be
incumbent on the legislator in the future, although I am of the opinion that the
process leading to the adoption of the proposed referendum regulation that you
have in your hands should be continued.
As agreed, I will give the committee all the time it needs to finish its
examination of the proposed referendum regulation. In conclusion, I hope that
you find these comments useful. My colleagues and I will be happy to answer your
questions. If committee members wish, later we could discuss the electoral
boundaries readjustment process.
Senator Beaudoin: You stated that Members were somewhat uneasy with the
idea that the adaptation of the Referendum Regulation was the product of the
work of an officer of Parliament and not of the legislator. The Senate also has
some concerns about this. We feel that too much legislation is enacted by way of
regulations. Ideally, fundamental questions should be dealt with by Parliament.
That is what is important. Am I to understand that the regulation we will be
considering today is in fact duly authorized by the Canada Elections Act?
Mr. Kingsley: It is authorized by the 1992 Canada Elections Act under
which the 1992 referendum was held. The Chief Electoral Officer is authorized to
adapt the Canada Elections Act to apply it in respect of a referendum.
Senator Beaudoin: That is spelled out in the legislation?
Mr. Kingsley: Yes, it is in the Referendum Act which contains only 40
sections. If I am not mistaken, the Elections Act contains over 500 provisions.
To avoid having to rewrite the entire elections legislation and to incorporate
it directly into the Referendum Act, in 1992, the legislator adopted the
Referendum Act, a separate piece of legislation containing only 40 provisions.
This act states that the Chief Electoral Officer shall adapt the Canada
Elections Act to apply it in respect of a referendum.
Senator Beaudoin: Yes, it is legal, but it is quite a power that is
Mr. Kingsley: I did not ask for the power, it was imposed upon me.
Senator Beaudoin: You have the right to adapt the Canada Elections Act to
a referendum. You may do what you want providing you follow the Elections Act.
Mr. Kingsley: I must follow the Canada Elections Act and I must also
submit it to the committee of the House and the committee of the Senate. This is
what I have been doing since the Referendum Act came into being in 1992.
Therefore, the procedure is not exceptional.
Senator Beaudoin: Once this regulation is adopted will you consider a
special statute later on?
Mr. Kingsley: In the past, the committee deliberated but did not agree to
pass legislation. The committee received advice from its legal advisers and
formulated comments on how to improve that regulation, which it then submitted
to my office. We analyzed the comments and incorporated them to the extent that
it was possible. I wrote back to the committee informing them what I had been
able to do with their comments. I expect that this procedure will be followed
this time as well.
The Chairman: Is that not an unusual power that you have? Is there any
other officer of Parliament that can operate in this way? You are, in effect,
making the law of the land without passage of an act of Parliament.
Mr. Kingsley: It is a most unusual power. I accepted it at the time
because the legislator wanted me to accept it. I did not seek it. I think there
are ways that it can be done differently in the future. I know that when people
have power they usually wish to retain it. That is not true in this case. I do
not wish to retain this authority. That may also make me a very exceptional
person, because people usually hang on to the power they have. It is unique at
the federal level. It has been unique since 1992.
Research indicates that this is how Parliament operated in 1918 regarding the
possibility of referendum on prohibition. This is the way Parliament operated in
1942 regarding the referendum on conscription. I believe that that is how the
pattern was set.
Initially, there was not going to be any reference to a committee of the House
or the Senate. It was simply going to be the Chief Electoral Officer who would
act. I welcome the opportunity to have to account for the regulation I take to
committees of the House and the Senate. That is why that section is included.
The Chairman: I appreciate that you have appeared before us and I
appreciate that the Senate gave us a mandate to do this. We are not like a House
of Commons committee that can study everything that falls within their general
jurisdiction. We need a specific mandate from the Senate. Had we not received
that, this would have slipped by in those seven days, which is the minimum
period of time you have.
With regard to that minimum period of time, this committee has been extremely
busy with a controversial bill. This could have happened during the summer
recess when Parliament was not sitting. Should there not be a provision in the
act that requires this to be tabled when Parliament is sitting?
Mr. Kingsley: Amendments should be considered to require the adaptation
to be the object of the approval of Parliament rather than the approval of the
Chief Electoral Officer. That would obviate the problem you have just mentioned.
I assure you that I would not take such a regulation without first obtaining
comments from and the agreement of the House and the Senate. However, if there
were some kind of a political crisis and there was a need to adapt, the Chief
Electoral Officer, whoever he or she may be, might well proceed to take the
regulation without a response from the Senate or the House.
Senator Rivest: Mr. Kingsley, is there any link between the Clarity Act
and the Referendum Act? Does the Clarity Act have any regulatory authority?
Mr. Kingsley: In response to your first question, there is no connection
between the Clarity Act and the Referendum Act.
Senator Rivest: The Canada question may not be clear.
Senator Fraser: Unless it deals with the secession of a province.
Mr. Kingsley: I do not think I need to respond to that comment. As for
the second question, namely if someone, the Governor in Council, for example,
has regulatory authority over the Clarity Act, I cannot answer that.
Senator Rivest: Is the Chief Electoral Officer responsible for
administering the Clarity Act?
Mr. Kingsley: No.
Senator Fraser: I am familiar with the Clarity Bill and my recollection
is 99.9 per cent certain that there is no regulatory element to that bill.
Senator Joyal: May I have the one-tenth per cent that is missing from
Mr. Kingsley, further to your analysis, I believe you published a paper
highlighting the differences between Quebec's referendum legislation and your
consolidation of the federal Referendum Act. I recall seeing a document in which
you highlighted the five or six major differences between these two acts.
Briefly, could you tell us which chapters in your table of provisions are
affected by this comparative chart?
Mr. Kingsley: I believe you are referring to the compendium published on
the Elections Canada website. The compendium is a comparative analysis of
electoral and referendum legislation at the federal and provincial levels. This
analysis is an ongoing process.
To answer your second question, namely if there are differences in the acts
which are affected by the proposed regulation, I would have to take a closer
look at this because I have not done an analysis. Nevertheless, I will venture a
response. Quebec's referendum legislation in no way affects the federal
Senator Joyal: I agree.
Mr. Kingsley: The differences reflected in the regulation have to do with
the electoral process, for example, how polls are organized and how the
enumeration is done. These are the types of differences encountered.
Thus, the fundamental differences between the two referendum acts would lie in
the text of the legislation as such, and not in the regulation. The differences
have to do with the striking of committees and with the calculation of the
maximum amounts that federal committees can spend.
There are only two umbrella committees in Quebec: theYES committee and the NO
committee, whereas at the federal level, there is no limit on the number of
committees that may be formed. These committees must register if they intend to
spend more than $5,000. The spending ceiling is determined on the basis of a per
At the federal level, the committee informs us of the place in which it intends
to hold its meetings. The electoral district is then determined, and the maximum
expenditures of the committee is established in accordance with a per capita
There is another major difference between the two referendum acts. At the
federal level, three hours of broadcasting time are made available at no cost to
registered referendum committees. This broadcasting time is allocated by the
broadcasting arbitrator who is appointed by the Chief Electoral Officer.
There is no such provision in Quebec's referendum legislation because a province
cannot impose any kind of broadcasting restrictions. Broadcasting falls under
federal jurisdiction. These are the major differences between the two referendum
As for the regulations, they pertain solely to the process of holding a vote,
for example, how polls are organized. The federal electoral district continues
to be in charge of organizing matters and polling officers continue to oversee
the voting in the referendum. The federal electoral machine is still the same.
However, the process is different in Quebec.
Senator Joyal: Then you see no major differences between your proposed
regulation, which mainly has to do with the conduct of a referendum and
broadcasting, and Quebec's referendum legislation, aside from the issue of free
broadcasting time, as you mentioned.
Mr. Kinsley: I do not believe there are any other differences.
Senator Joyal: Did you not state that in future, you would prefer to see
the federal Referendum Act apply in all provinces in the event of a national
Mr. Kingsley: I was asked the following question: Would things have been
different if the federal referendum had been a national referendum? I answered
that in terms of advertising, there were some differences. The regulations
respecting referen dum committees were published across the country. Of course,
federal advertising was restricted in Quebec. However, I had a duty to reach
communities in Ontario and New Brunswick, provinces which border Quebec, since
Quebeckers had access to this information. The reverse was also true. Some
advertising by the Quebec media reached people living in these border provinces.
The possibility that people might be confused was real. Enumeration dates were
different, given the different electoral processes. The Haig case even
made it all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada. Mr. Haig represented himself
in this matter. Some 10,000 Canadian citizens found themselves in a similar
situation, that is they had been Canadian citizens for at least six months, but
Quebec residents for fewer than six months. Quebec's referendum regulations
stipulated that a person must have been domiciled in Quebec for at least six
months prior to the referendum date in order to be entitled to vote. There is no
such provision in the federal referendum legislation. The case came before the
courts. I had made preparations for an advertising campaign should the court
find that these persons were in fact entitled to vote. The advertisements would
instruct people that if the court ruled in their favour, they should register to
vote directly through the newspapers. Ultimately, the court did rule in favour
of the Chief Electoral Officer. These persons were entitled to vote neither
under the federal referendum legislation nor under Quebec's referendum
legislation. I was obliged to draft a regulation respecting the dissemination of
Quebec's referendum results across Canada, to ensure that the outcome of voting
in western Canada was not affected.
I would not have been forced into this situation had the provisions of the
federal Referendum Act applied. In essence, these are the main problems we
Senator Joyal: Immigration is on the rise in Canada, particularly in
Quebec. According to a report that I read last week, immigration is expected to
continue to increase in the next few years. The problem illustrated by the Haig
case is not likely to go away. Have other solutions been considered, for
example, amending either the federal or provincial legislation? After all,
Canadian citizens are being denied their right to vote. It is somewhat
incongruous that persons who have acquired the rights associated with
citizenship, namely the right to vote and to move freely within Canada, rights
which are guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, cannot exercise
the most fundamental of all citizenship rights, namely the right to vote in
elections or referendums. Do you see any other way of resolving this problem?
Mr. Kingsley: I agree, it is very incongruous. I tried to find some
provision in the federal act which would have allowed these individuals to vote,
but there was none. That is the reason why the matter had to be brought before
the courts. What is needed is an amendment to either the federal or provincial
legislation, or a truly national referendum. Otherwise, some legal changes are
warranted. Had I been able to find another legally acceptable solution which
would not have entailed violating the legislation that I am responsible for
administering, then I would have done so. I had hoped the court would ultimately
rule against me.
Senator Joyal: We might want to consider recommendations.
The Chairman: I think we will have recommendations, Senator Joyal. When
we come back after the break, we will attempt to have a meeting to deal with
some of these very serious issues.
Senator Moore: It is nice that you do not want to hold on to your power.
This is so fundamental to the governance of our country that it should be in
legislation, not in regulation. Is it intended that there be a law rather than
this staying in regulation?
Mr. Kingsley: Under our system, it is probably better if it is contained
in a law. If it is in a regulation then it should be one that is subject to the
authority of both the Senate and the House of Commons.
Senator Moore: Exactly.
Mr. Kingsley: I do not think it can be only by Governor in Council. The
Canada Elections Act does not allow the Governor in Council to make a
regulation. There are specific reasons for that. The Referendum Act does not
allow that either. I think it should revert. That is why I am saying that the
Chief Electoral Officer should be, perhaps, included in the process but not as
Senator Moore: That may be one of the recommendations that you are
The Chairman: Yes.
Senator Fraser: Are you saying that what is being changed here is just
the elements of the Canada Elections Act that must be changed because they do
not match referendum circumstances?
What we would have here are referendum regulations that mirror the Canada
Elections Act except where they refer to candidates. They are essentially
technical things like that with no change in substance.
Mr. Kingsley: That is correct. That is what we are attempting to do. This
is our best effort, and in the past this committee has looked at them and made
comments that I have appreciated.
It may look technical, but sometimes it turns out to be more than that. I hope
that this is well understood. That is why I do not like the role that I am
called upon to play here.
Senator Fraser: We are all appreciative of the fact that you do not like
this role and everyone here agrees with you that this is not a role that should
have been thrust upon you.
However, as we consider what would be an appropriate way to get away from it the
virtue of the present system is that you do end up having referendum procedures
that are close to the Elections Act procedures. If it were a separate law you
might well end up with comparatively different sets of not just technical
procedures but underlying principles affecting referendums and elections.
The Elections Act is already a massive piece of legislation. However, would an
appropriate alternative be to fold the Referendum Act and regulations back into
the Elections Act so that changes to them would mean that they would go through
together? That way there would be some guarantee that parliamentarians would
have a consistency of approach.
Mr. Kingsley: I think we need two statutes because the objects are
different, and, while it is an important happenstance, it should be the same for
Canadians to vote in a referendum and an election insofar as the machinery and
procedures are concerned.
The honourable senator has raised an interesting point. If the practicalities of
Bill C-2 were being reviewed at the same time as the Referendum Act was going
through, I think it would have created a different kind of debate. Therefore,
the issue is how you reconcile all of that with the fact that Parliament should
pass laws. Bill C-2 was a complex piece of legislation because it redid the
whole Elections Act from top to bottom. That would have meant that the
Referendum Act would have been redone top to bottom. That would have meant that
there might have been discussion relating to the Referendum Act that was quite
substantial. Should we have practically unlimited amounts of spending? What
should be the allocation of free broadcast time? This is part and parcel of the
Referendum Act. Yet the main thrust is to change the Canada Elections Act. It
will be up to Parliament to decide how it wants to handle that and to
governments how they wish to propose legislation to Parliament.
I see the need for two pieces of legislation because they are separate issues
and they generate different discussion when we get into the substance.
Senator Fraser: They are two different pieces of legislation and we have
discussed the technical reasons for their difference. What are the core
differences between elections and referendums? This probably sounds like a
foolish question, but I would like to have your response to it on record.
Mr. Kingsley: I do not fully understand your question.
Senator Fraser: Apart from general complexity and volumi nous pieces of
work, what are the main differences between a referendum and an election that
lead you to say we need two statutes?
I understand the technical differences: No candidates, only two sides versus
many sides. Beyond that, are there more profound philosophical differences
between what an election is supposed to do and what a referendum is supposed to
do that lead you to say we really do need two statutes?
Mr. Kingsley: The basic purpose of a referendum under the statute is that
it must deal with a constitutional question. Elections do not necessarily have
to deal with constitutional questions. That is one fundamental difference. There
is also a section of the Referendum Act that says a referendum cannot be held at
the same time as an election. There is clear indication there that legislators
saw specific differences between these two statutes.
The Chairman: One way of getting around this problem, rather than having
one enormous act is to have two acts and get away from your problem with
ambulatory references. Every time there is a change in one act or the other
there would be consequential amendments included in that act to the other one.
Those consequential amendments would actually agree with what is present in both
Mr. Kingsley: I will suggest to you something that I have not discussed
with anyone, so I am sure there will be comments after. One can attempt to
identify those sections of the Canada Elections Act that would apply to both
processes. When they are changed for an election they are automatically changed
for a referendum, and there would be something in the Referendum Act that says
everything in that section is automatically adapted. I do not know if that would
The Chairman: That may be worth looking at some time in the future, but
consequential amendments are perhaps easier.
Senator Beaudoin: You convinced me right from the beginning that we need
two statutes, because it may be technical but the result is substantial and
different. The ideal situation is to have two different statutes. When you say
that the referendum may be the first step for a constitutional amendment, a
secession, or something of that nature, this is of the greatest importance and
it deserves a different statute.
I have another question. Was it at Charlottetown that we had two referendums at
the same time: one in Quebec and one in Canada?
Mr. Kingsley: This is what I was alluding to when I was talking about the
difficulties of holding two referendums on the same question on the same day,
but with different rules leading up to the process.
Senator Beaudoin: I do not see why we should not have a national
referendum, and with only one statute that is the federal one. Quebec or any
other province may have a different referendum for a question of its own. I
agree with that. However, at the federal level we should have a Referendum Act
that is applicable in the whole country. I believe that is a reason to have two
The Chairman: I will direct our parliamentary researchers to look into
this and to come up with some suggestions pertaining to the issues that Mr.
Kingsley has brought before us. We will return to this issue later on this fall.
I believe that Mr. Kingsley also has something more he would like to say to us
Mr. Kingsley: Madam Chair, it have information to give you concerning the
Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act. I would like to take this opportunity to
update you on the readjustment of the federal electoral boundaries scheduled to
begin on March 12, 2002.
On May 23 of this year, I wrote to all members of Parliament and Senators to
inform them of the upcoming redistribution. I also spoke about this in my recent
appearance before this committee.
Representation in the House of Commons is readjusted after each decennial census
to reflect changes and movements in Canada's population in accordance with the
Constitution Act, 1867, and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act.
The readjustment of the federal electoral district boundaries begins when the
Chief Statistician prepares and sends the certified census return to the
minister designated for the purposes of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment
Act and to the Chief Electoral Officer.
The Chief Statistician has confirmed that the census will be available on March
12, 2002. Ten independent commissions readjust the federal electoral boundaries.
I expect that the10 federal electoral boundaries commissions will be established
by March 12, 2002.
When the last redistribution was conducted, there were11 commissions: there was
one for the two electoral districts in the Northwest Territories before the
creation of Nunavut. Now that the Northwest Territories and Nunavut constitute
one electoral district each, electoral boundaries commissions are not required
for them. The same continues to apply to Yukon, which is one riding.
Under the provisions of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act, Elections
Canada provides a variety of professional, technical and administrative services
to those commissions. All amounts required for the payments of salaries and
other expenses under the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act are determined by
the Chief Electoral Officer and paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund under
the Chief Electoral Officer's statutory authority.
In preparation for the upcoming redistribution, my office is putting in place
the infrastructure to ensure that Statistics Canada and Natural Resources Canada
will assist us during redistribution by certifying the population data and
verifying the boundary descriptions as is required by law.
The forecast budget for the upcoming redistribution is approximately $10
million. This covers all expenditures incurred by the commissions, as well as
those incurred by Statistics Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Elections
I am also sharing information with Elections Ontario, as this will be the first
readjustment of federal electoral boundaries since the electoral boundaries in
the Province of Ontario were aligned with federal electoral district boundaries.
The Chief Justices of all provinces were contacted last March, and again last
month, and have been asked to identify a judge to sit as chair of the commission
for their respective province to meet the March 12 target date. I also took the
opportunity on both occasions to provide them with information on the
redistribution process and the projected schedule for the work of the chair of
The Speaker of the House of Commons has been written to for the purposes of
appointing the two other members of each commission. I have been informed that
he has received my two letters.
Preparations have begun to bring commission members and commission secretaries
to a three-day conference here in Ottawa. This is to start on March 13. Guest
speakers and academics will also be invited to address the concept of Community
We will also provide advice to the commissions concerning the names of electoral
districts that meet the requirements set by the Geographic Names Board of Canada
in order to avoid future requests for name changes that could become very
expensive to implement and are sometimes confusing to the public.
For the first time, a web module entitled Federal Representa tion 2004,
accessible through the Elections Canada website at www.elections.ca is being
developed and will be available on March 12, 2002 for those who would like
information on the process or to communicate with each of the ten commissions
For each provinces, we will publish on the web module detailed maps showing the
electoral district boundaries. In order to clearly illustrate the modifications
at each step of the redistribution process, the user will have the choice to
superim pose any two of the following: the current boundaries, the proposed
boundaries, the boundaries from the commission's report and the new boundaries
The development of a redistributing tool which will use census and geography
data to electronically and interactively produce boundary scenarios will begin
shortly. That of course will be used by the commissions in their work.
A communications plan is being prepared to identify strategies to inform the
public on the process and encourage the participation of all segments of our
society, including aboriginal and ethnocultural communities.
In addition, there could be as many as five provincial redistributions taking
place during the life of the readjustment of the federal electoral boundaries.
As a result, our key messages will have to be appropriately directed to avoid
I would like to bring to your attention a few key dates from the projected
schedule for redistribution.
Firstly, the Chief Electoral Officer will calculate the number of seats
allocated to each province.
Secondly, each commission will consider a number of scenarios to divide the
province into the number of seats allocated to that province and then publish
Then, the commissions will hold public hearings between July and October 2002.
The commissions will then draft their report which will be tabled in the House
of Commons between July 2002 and March 2003.
At this point, members of the House of Commons will have an opportunity to
comment on the proposed ridings through the Standing Committee on Procedure and
House Affairs. This is expected to take place between September 2002 and April
The commissions will then consider the objections raised by the members of the
House of Commons and will subsequently issue their final report all between
October 2002 and June 2003. You must understand that the commissions make an
independent ruling which may or may not be based on the members' observations.
The timeframes reflect the fact that the commissions' reports are tabled in a
staggered fashion, based on the workload of each province. Less populated
provinces require less time than Ontario, Quebec or British Colombia.
Finally, a representation order would be proclaimed by June 30, 2003, barring
delays, and would come into force with the first dissolution of Parliament to
occur at least one year after the proclamation. Therefore, any federal general
election called after June 30, 2004 would be conducted using the boundaries
specified under the new representation order.
This one-year delay would give political parties, prospective candidates and
Elections Canada time to adapt to the new electoral boundaries. This is a key
I am pleased to provide you today with a copy of the projected schedule. We
would also be happy to answer questions you might have about federal
redistributions. However, I would first like to introduce to you Carol Lesage,
who is Director of Operations at Elections Canada. She will also be happy to
field your questions.
The Chairman: Mr. Kingsley, thank you very much. We would be delighted to
be able to ask questions, but I allowed you to make this presentation for the
interest of the members. We do not have a mandate to report on this or to
question you about it. Perhaps the committee members would question you
privately afterwards. We cannot do so during the committee.
That is one of the difficulties with Senate committees: They can only operate
within their mandate and I have stretched that mandate quite a bit today.
Senator Fraser: You can circulate among the committee members the
documents that the witness has chosen to provide?
The Chairman: Absolutely. We can have before us everything that is here.
We will take great interest in them, I assure you. We will have you back and
grill you on the proposed new riding boundaries, when you report on the changes
to the legislation for elections.
Mr. Kingsley: On November 27 you will receive a copy of my report on
changes to the Canada Elections Act. Should your committee obtain a mandate from
the Senate concerning the matter of redistribution, I will be ready to appear
before you to pursue the topic to the entire satisfaction of honourable
The Chairman: We appreciate that very much.
Senator Beaudoin, you can talk to me but not to the Chief Electoral Officer.
Senator Beaudoin: It is true that we cannot act if we do not have a
mandate, but under the Constitution, every ten years we must go back to the
question of the electoral regime in Canada. I understand that this is related to
The Chairman: This arises out of the 2001 census. I encourage members of
the committee to meet with the electoral officer if they wish.
The committee adjourned.