All parties in the Commons give approval in principle to pandemic election bill

Excepting ultra-conservative MP Derek Sloan, all MPs have given second reading support to Bill C-19, which allows a three-day voting window and wider use of mail-in ballots to be used in case of an election during the pandemic.

OTTAWA — All parties have given approval in principle to a bill aimed at ensuring a federal election could be safely conducted, if need be, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill C-19 has passed at second reading, with Independent MP Derek Sloan registering the only objection.

It will now go to a House of Commons committee for scrutiny and possible amendments.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc has said the government is "wide open" to improvements to the legislation.

Chief electoral officer Stephane Perrault appealed to parliamentarians last fall to swiftly pass legislation empowering Elections Canada to temporarily adopt new measures in the event of an election during the pandemic.

Among other things, the bill would allow for a three-day voting period, rather than the usual one day, make it easier for voters to obtain and cast mail-in ballots and give Elections Canada more flexibility to conduct mobile polls in long-term care facilities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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