House, Senate committees hold final election bill hearings
Conservative MP Laurie Hawn, Pirate Party testify on proposal to rewrite election law
Both parliamentary committees reviewing the government's controversial bid to rewrite Canada's election laws heard from witnesses Thursday, ahead of a two-week break for MPs.
The Commons' procedure and House affairs committee heard from representatives of LeadNow.ca, Apathy is Boring and the Quebec federation of college students as MPs prepared to head home to their ridings for a two-week Easter constituency break.
During the session, Conservative MP Laurie Hawn fielded questions on his claim to have been offered illicitly obtained voter information cards during the 2006 election, as well as other irregularities that, he said, demonstrated the need to "plug the holes" in the current law to ensure fair elections.
Meanwhile, former MP Bill Casey, who was elected as a Conservative before leaving caucus to sit as an independent, explained how he believes the changes will make it more difficult for candidates not aligned with a major party to run in future campaigns.
That same point was emphasized at the Senate legal affairs committee "pre-study," which heard from Pirate Party representative Ric Lim and Michael Nicula, leader of the Party for Accountability, Competency and Transparency, as well as Elections Commissioner Yves Cote and former B.C. chief electoral officer Harry Neufeld.
Read a recap of today's meetings here.