October 8, 2015

Dear Division 16,

This week, we studied the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  You learned about the many ways that the rights of Canadians are protected, including our right to participate in democratic processes.

A new law was passed recently called the “Fair Elections Act”. The government described the law as being aimed at reducing voter fraud. Before the law was passed, people could vote by showing their voter information card at a polling station as proof of residency, or have another verified voter “vouch” for their identity.  Now, additional identification is required to ensure that those voting at polling stations are who they say they are.  This is aimed at ensuring that those casting ballots provide proof of identity.

Critics say that students living away from home, Aboriginal people, seniors in long-term care homes and the homeless may find it more difficult or make it impossible for them to vote despite being a citizen..

Please read these two articles and comment on whether you think this law will improve the democratic process by making it fairer, or whether you think this law makes it harder for some Canadians to use their charter rights.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2015/08/23/fair-elections-act-will-bring-big-changes-on-voting-day.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/fair-elections-act-critics-seek-injunction-arguing-new-id-rules-block-voting-1.3132395

Here is more detailed information about what identification is now required to vote:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/9-things-to-know-about-voting-under-the-new-elections-act-1.2612571

In your post, please take a position supporting or opposing (for or against) the Fair Elections Act.

In your response, make sure you comment on

  1. whether you think this law is in the spirit of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  2. what, if any, effects you think this law will have on voting day
  3. whether you agree with the government that voter identification is important or whether you feel that these new rules make it harder for people to use their Charter Rights.

I look forward to your responses,

Jody

38 comments

  1. Rouge

    I don’t really agree with the Fair Elections Act. I think that this method of eliminating “voter fraud” leaves out several pieces of the charter rights and excludes lots of people. In the charter rights it says that every Canadian citizen has the right to vote in an election. Homeless people don’t have a designated living space and so for them it will be hard to show where they live, you can also show your drivers license or another piece of ID but sometimes people don’t have those cards of identification. I think that this will have a big impact on voting day because, some parties platforms have plans to support and help people that currently have trouble showing ID to vote, and if you cant show identification you cant vote which means you wont be able to try and elect a party that will help you and your needs. I do agree that you should show some form of identification but I think that the system right now just isn’t working, in the future I think that the government should create a a system where everyone is included and has the same democratic rights.

  2. den10@sea43

    #3 I think that it is making it harder to follow the charter of freedoms and rights because they are not letting aboriginal or student etc. it is not following it in some was some maybe some people will think that it is ok to disobey the carter because they are and there the federal government. But election voting fraud has been a problem so I like that they are trying to do something about it but I don’t agree with the way they are doing it.

    • dickensdiv16

      den10@sea43 you’ve raised an important point – the government also has to abide by the law. However the court case turns out, I think it’s important that citizens always ask questions of the government and keep a close eye to make sure things are fair!

  3. Amethyst

    3. I agree with the law about that you should have to have your voter identification with you when you go to vote. I agree because if you support a party a lot then you could just go to a lot of different voting places and say your a different person every time. Since you have to have a voter identification with you, you can’t say that your a different person because you have a voter identification so they know who you actually are.

    2. This will effect voting day because there will be less votes because not everyone gets to vote. Also all Canadians should be able to be included in almost everything but for this there are people who can’t be part of something like this. Plus having a new prime minister means that they change a lot of things and that effects everyone because if you are a senior and live in a care home the new prime minister can change something about care homes and effect you maybe in a really bad way.

    1. I didn’t read all of the charter of rights and freedoms but I don’t think that the law is in the spirit of the charter of rights and freedoms. I think that because the charter says a whole bunch of stuff that I think that the law doesn’t say. Actually I kind of don’t really think that the law and the charter totally agree with each other.

    • dickensdiv16

      Amethyst, You’ve really got a great understanding of the question. It’s really about balancing the need for Canadians to trust the electoral process with our charter rights.

  4. Crazychicken lover

    #1 I disagree with the new law because it does not benefit many seniors or homeless people . I think that it is not in the spirit
    of the charter because the charter said things about defending the homeless because how will the homeless prove that they live in that spot?The conservatives or government have made a big impact and mistake because canada has a lot of seniors that live in facilitys and alot of homeless people live on the streets. So probably canada will lose alot more voters than da 2011 election because of that mistake.
    #2 I think that the effects will be pretty bad because they’re are probably alot more homeless people and seniors than
    people who love making trouble. So it will probably be too difficult for homeless people and VERY old seniors to do the vote and they will decide not to do it anyway because it is too difficult to organize. Stephen harper wasnt very smart to pass that law because i think alot of people agree with me and the effects wont be very good on October 19.

  5. vid30 g@m3r

    3# I think that the new Elections act isn’t really fair. Young people need to vote and I see no reason why they can’t.
    Plus, on the charter of rights and freedoms, it clearly says any Canadian citizen has the right to vote. As for showing your identification, I think that is important because I don’t think people from other places that are not Canadian citizens should be voting in this election.

    • dickensdiv16

      vid3o g@m3r, it’s great that you participate in our discussions. Even though you weren’t there for the introduction to this question, you’ve found your way to the essential part of the question – how do we ensure that voters are eligible without taking away people’s charter rights?

  6. super cheese cake

    #3 I don’t really agree with the new rule though, because there’re some homeless people that doesn’t have any address and if someone moved to another place, then they are not able to vote, so that’s kind of unfair. Well I do agree with them coming up with some good ideas to identify people as themselves to eliminate those trouble that people are facing. But I don’t agree with what they’re doing now.

  7. iron lanturn

    3# I think the new election process is not great because then if you don’t have any identification you can’t vote.
    1# I think the law is defiantly not i n the spirit of the charter of rights and freedoms because if you where homeless you couldn’t vote. i think this law should be respected [every citizen of canada being able to vote]
    so there not letting homeless people vote in the elections.
    A better idea[if they didn’t have identification] would to be to have people have to promise not to not go in as a different person
    the police would track them.so if they did go in as a different person they would track them and they would have the right to vote
    taken away from them.or just have the old way of voting identification check.[if you didn’t have identification some one would vouch for you].

  8. smeagaleater10

    #1 No, it is not in the Spirit of Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it makes it harder, for people like students, seniors aboriginal people and homeless people, to vote because you need more pieces of ID.
    #2 Yes, I think this law will affect the voting day because it will decrease the amount of younger people who will vote in this election because the law requires for them to give more pieces of ID.
    #3 I don’t agree with voter identification rule because it will decrease the turnout of younger voters.

    • dickensdiv16

      I wonder what will happen on Election Day! I know even at the last provincial election, the polling station where I was volunteering had to stay open two hours late because of the lineup! I wonder what happens to voters who are discouraged from voting?

  9. crazymemeslol123

    #3 it doesn’t feel right because the other people who doesn’t have homes or a family or anything in the matter of facts I think that’s really unfair because people who has rights but what happens if she/he are homeless they still have the rights to vote I mean everyone who wants to vote has a chance but if they don’t want to then they to have to well I hope a lot of people won’t change lots of rules with the charter of rights and freedom don’t go change anything else or they’ll mess up things for other people.

    • dickensdiv16

      I agree with you, crazymemeslol123, there are a lot of barriers to people voting, even though it is a charter right! How do you think this law messed things up for other people?

  10. PandaTush

    3.I really don’t agree with this new law because it doesn’t benefit everyone. It’s doesn’t allow those who want to vote, vote and I feel like being a citizen of Canada, you should have the right to vote, whether or not you don’t have a home or you can’t get mail. I think that if everyone had a say in this, and not just the government, there would be a better solution.

    • dickensdiv16

      Panda, I love how you’re bringing our class discussion on rights and responsibilities to this assignment. Do you think that homeless people, Aboriginal people, students and seniors would have suggestions about how to deal with the voter identification issue without compromising their charter rights?

    • xaxo6 04

      Except we do Panda, we elect our MPs for the House of Commons because we think that they will sort out problems for our country plus if you have a problem with something in Vancouver, run in the election just step up and if you get elected the people in Vancouver will be hoping you change what you said you would to make Vancouver a better place.

  11. dancing porcupine

    I don’t agree with the fair elections act because I don’t think that it is in the spirit of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it makes it so that not everyone can vote and in the Charter it says that all Canadian citizens are allowed to vote in all democratic elections. I think that this law will effect the voter turnout because some people who would like to vote might not be able to. I think that it is important that people don’t say that they are someone else but I also think that this law is not respecting peoples rights so I think that the government should think of a new way to make sure that no one is lying about their name but still respect everyones right to vote.

  12. xaxo6 04

    #1 I don’t think that the Fair Elections Act is in the spirit of the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms because in the charter, it clearly states that each person is eligible to vote if they are over 18. As well I think this new law was just maybe a way for the conservatives to discriminate against their rival parties’ supporters. #2 I think the effects this will have are, a increased percentage of conservative MPs thrown out of the House of Commons, an issue that people will vote on and a decrease in votes. #3 This for me makes it much harder for people to use their rights especially for those without a permanent address such as homeless people, college and university students and seniors in care homes. I don’t qualify as any of those different kinds of people except I would be enraged if I found out that my voting power had been taken from me.

  13. The Baconator

    d#2 I think that the fair elections act is an issue that is very important and if one of the leader’s figures out a better solution, has a better chance of winning this upcoming election. If someone does change it more people will be able to vote and they will probably vote for the person that let them vote. Some people desperately want to vote and now they can’t because now it is a law and it denies their rights and if you let them vote chances are they will vote for you. I think that if you want to vote you should be able to no matter what.

  14. ginger

    I do not agree with this new law because it goes against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and it does not show true democracy. The government might have had good intentions while writing this law but they may be excluding a large group of citizens such as students and First Nation’s people living on reserve. Stopping voter fraud is very important, but the government needs to come up with a different way to deal with it so that everyone can vote. With this new law in order I think that the 2015 federal vote will have an even lower voter turnout than previous years because some people might not have acceptable address identification such as students living on campus or seniors living in nursing homes. The Fair Elections Act says that you must bring address confirmation in order to vote, but the Charter says that everyone over the age of 18 can vote even if you don’t have a driver’s license or other form of identification. I hope that after this upcoming vote the new, or old, Prime Minister will see how many fewer people voted and try to stop voter fraud in different ways.

  15. baconguy

    I don’t agree with the fair elections act because it makes it harder to vote for some people. I also think it defies the charter of rights and freedoms because, just reading it in class, there is a right that says that everyone has a right to vote, and with the fair elections act, not everyone can vote. It could also make it less likely for young people to vote, if their still students. To me, the fair elections act is a bad idea and does make it harder for people to use their rights and freedoms.

  16. Purple Pickle

    #2 I think this law will have lots of effects on voting day. because you have to require your address so that means homeless people can’t vote. Maybe some people will be totally against that law and will spoil there ballot which would decrease the total voting turnout during voting day.

  17. Joaquin

    I disagree with the fair election act.
    #1
    No, this new law is not in the spirit of the Charter of Rights and Freedom because i believe its taking away your Democratic Rights to vote as stated “Every citizen in Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein”.
    #2
    I think this will make a big impact on election day because if people go to vote but forget their voter information card and they forget their ID they can’t vote until they can provide the required information,which then people might get discouraged and find it too much of a hassle to vote.

  18. THEMANGO404

    I think that the fair elections act is ironically not fair to the homeless, aboriginal, elderly and students living away from home because they are people that are having a hard time anyway and they should be able to vote in the riding that they are in because then they can chose the person that could make their life easier by like voting for the person that gives more affordable health care or more job opportunities or some one that make cheaper housing. Speaking Democraticly I think that everyone should be able to vote no matter what.

  19. Sr.Fruitcake

    Well I think that the Act will definitely make a difference to the voter turnout. I think that people of those minority groups such as students, Aboriginals and people living in Senior’s homes will have a much harder time voting, and isn’t one of our main goals is to increase voter turnout? I do think that young people should be able to vote the way the Fair Elections Act is preventing. On October 19th I will be ready to hear about what sort of draw backs the Act will put in place. If our voter turnout gets any lower than I think something has to be done about the Act.

  20. PG Dinosuar

    I do not agree with the new law I think it will make it way harder for immigrants to vote, people that have moved, plus some people might not want to take the time to put in there new address or new country. No one wants the voter turnout to go down.

  21. TechNerd

    This “Fair Election act” is totally against and in violation of the Charter especially Democratic rights. Why? because people in care homes will not be allowed to vote as they do not have a fixed address and they live in care homes so they are not allowed to vote on election day or advanced polls. Homeless people will also be deprived of their rights and will not be able to vote on who they would like to elect, as they do not have a home and do not have a fixed address. Do I agree with this “Fair elections act” No, I do not agree and it is not “fair”. Why is it not fair and why do I not agree? This is in direct violations of charter and completely violates it, This act is what we call not allowing people to vote for who they would like their future representatives to be.

  22. Soccerboy123ABC

    #2 I don’t really like the fair elections act because i think the voting percentages will go down because there will be less people voting and i don’t think that they are going in the right direction, they are trying to make more people vote but they are making it really hard for certain groups of people .
    #3 I don’t agree with the government because there are a lot of people on Canada and some of them will be immigrants , Aboriginal,homeless or live in a care home or care facility

  23. Arctic owl

    3# I think the Fair Election act is very unfair to homeless people and first Nations because the Charter of rights and freedoms says Everyone has the right to vote . also if homeless people cant vote how will they help them self for instance what if one of the party’s said ” We plan to help homeless people ” if homeless people could not vote then how would they help them self .

  24. DLTMGYD

    I think that this is not a very fair thing to do and that it is against the charter of rights and freedom and it is making it harder for people to use there democratic right so that they can vote. I think that this will defiantly effect the voter turnout and make it harder for people to vote and could mess up the whole system. Theses brand new rules are making it harder for people to vote and to use the charter rights and freedom which could effect the voting process and might give some parties advantages and some parties disadvantages.

  25. the DUDE

    I don’t agree with the ID changes.I think you should be able to vouch for people. So if you really know someone, the people at the polling station should trust you. Maybe you left your ID in some other pants or something like that. I don’t agree with, if you’re poor and homeless and you come to the polling station station, you can’t vote. I don’t think thats fair, because I belive everyone has a right and a say in voting.

  26. Koshka2

    This law has a lot of effect of voting for my Homess people to take there right to vote, I would like a home for the Homess people so that there mail can be sent to them for the to vote. Just because it is voting day everyone should have the right to vote for who they want.

  27. balloongirl123

    2 This the second story in a series comparing the U.S. system of politics and elections with other democracies around the world.

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