Public prosecutor not consulted on election law overhaul

The Harper government did not consult the director of public prosecutions about its controversial plan to put him in charge of the investigative arm of Elections Canada.

Plan to put elections commissioner under director of public prosecutions a key component of bill

Bill C-23 has been almost universally panned by Canadian and international electoral experts. Chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand and others say they were not consulted on the Fair Elections Act. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The Harper government did not consult the director of public prosecutions about its controversial plan to put him in charge of the investigative arm of Elections Canada.

The plan to hive off the commissioner of elections from Elections Canada and move him under the auspices of the director of public prosecutions is a key component of the government's proposed overhaul of election laws.

It's a departure from a long-standing principle that prosecutors and investigators should be kept separate.

Bill C-23 has been almost universally panned by Canadian and international electoral experts and chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand says he was not consulted on the so-called Fair Elections Act.

Nor was the commissioner of elections, Yves Cote, who is responsible for enforcing election laws and investigating breaches.

Both have spoken out against the move, which they fear will impede investigations and reduce the commissioner's independence.

Brian Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, declined a request for comment but spokesman Dan Brien confirmed that Saunders was not consulted either.