Loading articles...

New Liberal bill to reveal long promised changes to elections law

A woman enters Maple High School in Vaughan, Ont., to cast her vote THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

The federal Liberal government will unveil later today how it plans to make good on several promised changes to Canada’s election laws.

Treasury Board President Scott Brison is introducing a bill meant to address several pledges Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made on the campaign trail, including by tackling how much political parties and third-party advocacy groups can spend before and during election campaigns.

That will include ways to make sure those third parties are not being funded by foreign money, and will also touch on modernizing the Canada Elections Act to reflect the fact that a lot of campaigning now takes place online.

The legislation is not, however, expected to come through on the promise to create an independent commission to organize televised debates among party leaders.

The Liberal government introduced some reforms in November 2016, aimed at undoing some of what the Conservatives introduced through their Fair Elections Act — including restoring the use of the voter identification card as a valid piece of ID. That bill, stalled at the introductory stage ever since, will be rolled into the new one.

The Liberals are confident the changes will be in place in time for Canadians to cast their ballots in the next federal election, but acting chief electoral officer Stephane Perrault said last week that anything meant to apply in 2019 should have been in place by now.