Opinion

Cannan: Protecting integrity of every ballot

In response to Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, concerns have been raised that by removing the ability to vouch for someone at the ballot box, as the bill proposes, some Canadians will not be able to exercise their right to vote, especially our most vulnerable citizens including the homeless, senior citizens and students.

The Fair Elections Act, available to read at www.parl.gc.ca, strives to ensure the protection and integrity of every ballot cast.

Additionally, the current options available for proving one’s identity already include provisions that recognize the challenges facing the homeless, seniors and students.

Throughout the ongoing debate in the House of Commons, and through correspondence sent to me from constituents, it has become clear that some citizens, and even some parliamentarians, are not aware of the many number of ways one can validate their identity at the polling station.

Government issued photo ID with your name and address is the simplest option, but is not the only option; voters can present two original pieces of authorized identification, where both pieces include your name and one includes your address.

For your information, here is the Elections Canada list of valid identification, also available at www.elections.ca.  Please note the last item, which is of particular importance to the homeless, seniors and students:

• Driver’s Licence

• Health Card

• Canadian Passport

• Certificate of Canadian Citizenship (Citizenship Card)

• Birth Certificate

• Certificate of Indian Status (Status Card)

• Social Insurance Number Card

• Old Age Security Card

• Student ID Card

• Provincial/Territorial Identification Card

• Liquor Identification Card

• Hospital/Medical Clinic Card

• Credit/Debit Card

• Employee Card

• Public Transportation Card

• Library Card

• Canadian Forces Identity Card

• Veterans Affairs Canada Health Card

• Canadian Blood Services/Héma-Québec Card

• CNIB ID Card

• Firearm Possession and Acquisition Licence or Possession Only Licence

• Fishing, Trapping or Hunting Licence

• Outdoors or Wildlife Card/Licence

• Hospital bracelet worn by residents of long-term care facilities

• Parolee Identification Card. Original documents (with name and address)

• Utility Bill (telephone, TV, public utilities commission, hydro, gas or water)

• Bank/Credit Card Statement

• Vehicle Ownership/Insurance

• Correspondence issued by a school, college or university

• Statement of Government Benefits (employment insurance, old age security, social assistance, disability support or child tax benefit)

• Attestation of Residence issued by the responsible authority of a First Nations band or reserve

• Government cheque or cheque stub

• Pension Plan Statement of Benefits, Contributions or Participation

• Residential Lease/Mortgage Statement

• Income/Property Tax Assessment Notice

• Insurance Policy

• Letter from a public curator, public guardian or public trustee

• One of the following, issued by the responsible authority of a shelter, soup kitchen, student/senior residence, or long-term care facility: Attestation of Residence, Letter of Stay, Admission Form or Statement of Benefits. (Elections Canada also notes that for electors residing in seniors’ residences and long-term care facilities, a photocopy of an item on the list is acceptable. This exception is made to address the fact that when residents are admitted, they routinely transfer their original ID to the administrator or to members of their family.)

The debate on the Fair Elections Act is encouraging us to think about the importance to act as a responsible citizen and exercise our vote.

As citizens, if we truly value that right to vote, surely we accept that the responsibility lies squarely with each of us to ensure we have the proper forms of ID in hand.

When the next federal election comes in 2015, I urge you all to take the time, ensure you have the proper identification, and guarantee your vote will be counted.

Have your say about the future of Canadian TV

The CRTC wants your input on the future of television and wants to put Canadians at the centre of their television system to ensure that. As a citizen, you can participate fully in the life of your country, province and community; as a consumer, you have programming choices, on many competitive platforms, such as cable, satellite, the Internet or mobile devices; and as a content creator, you have opportunities to produce content for Canadians and international audiences.

The CRTC is inviting Canadians to provide input by filling out the Let’s Talk TV: Choicebook questionnaire, available at www.crtc.gc.ca/talktv until 8 pm EST March 14, 2014.

A paper copy of Choicebook can be obtained by contacting the CRTC at 1-877-249-CRTC (2782).

You are encouraged to fill out Choicebook, share it with your friends and family, and seize the opportunity to tell the CRTC your thoughts about the future of Canada’s television system.

I encourage constituents who are interested in the future of TV in Canada to participate and have your say.

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