Hon. Terry M. Mercer (Acting Leader of the Senate Liberals):
Minister, thank you for being here. Last spring, I sponsored Bill C-50 here in the Senate, which was designed to implement an advertising and reporting regime in the Canada Elections Act to increase transparency in political fundraising.
The bill received Royal Assent in June and I believe it comes into force in December. Are we ready? Is Elections Canada ready? I also understand that Bill C-76, the elections modernization act, includes implementing spending limits for third parties and political parties pre-writ and bans the use of foreign money being spent on our elections.
Could you comment on how these measures will further aid transparency?
Hon. Karina Gould, P.C., M.P., Minister of Democratic Institutions: Absolutely. Let me begin by offering my sincere thanks and gratitude for your sponsorship of Bill C-50, Senator Mercer. I have every reason to believe that Elections Canada is prepared and ready to implement Bill C-50 when it comes into force at the end of this year. And I’m looking forward to that because I think it will be a very important step for all political parties represented in the other place to ensure that they are being transparent in their fundraising activity. Thank you very much for your efforts in seeing this through this place and through to Royal Assent.
With regard to Bill C-76, I am extraordinarily proud of this legislation and it is a piece of legislation that will do much to further the integrity and fairness of our electoral system, particularly with regard to transparency, as you mentioned. When we talk about third parties and political parties, with regard to third parties, it will create a new pre-writ period from which they must disclose funding and activities with regard to advertisements and also political activities. This will enable us to see for the first time where this money is coming from and how it is being spent, which I think is integral for our elections processes, particularly with the advent of a fixed election date.
This piece of legislation will carry on our government’s trajectory to ensure greater transparency in the political process and for Canadians to understand where money is coming from, how it’s entering the political process, and to ensure a fair and level playing field. Thank you very much for your question.