Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill, on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill, on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

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

All parties profess not to want an election during the health crisis

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 passed by a vote of 330-1 at second reading Tuesday, 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.

The all-party approval came one day after New Democrats joined forces with the minority Liberal government to cut short initial debate on the bill, which had been stalled since its introduction more than five months ago.

Conservative and Bloc Québécois MPs blasted the Liberals and NDP for colluding to gag democracy on a bill that’s supposed to protect it. But they all ended up supporting it in the end.

“Yesterday we opposed the Liberals’ gag order on Bill C-19 since changing the rules of democracy must be done by consensus and not by muzzling democracy,” Bloc House leader Alain Therrien said in a statement Tuesday.

“Now the Liberal-NDP alliance wants to decide on its own the terms of the next election. However, today we will be voting in favour of committee study of the bill so that we can continue the debate and table our amendments.”

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.

All parties profess not to want an election during the health crisis. But because the Liberals hold only a minority of seats in the Commons, an election could theoretically happen at any time, should all main opposition parties vote non-confidence in the government or should Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decide to pull the plug himself.

The bill would apply only to an election held while the pandemic continues to rage.

Among other things, it 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.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirusfederal election

Just Posted

The Kus-kus-sum site had been a sawmill on the Courtenay River. File photo
Restoration of Kus-kus-sum area in Courtenay to begin June 21

Restoration at the Kus-kus-sum site will begin June 21. This will be… Continue reading

The Bayview is temporarily closed to deal with the effects of a sprinkler in one room that was tampered with. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Bayview Hotel in Courtenay closed for now due to water mess

Hotel clarifies that only one sprinkler was tampered with and activated

A rendering shows a “mini urban bazaar” for very small businesses hub proposed in Cumberland. File image, Cumberland staff report
Urban bazaar proposal in Cumberland takes next step

Council approved permit applications but have some concerns about parking

Craft Brewing and Malting program student Ellie Hadley plans to use her newfound skills and knowledge to set up a distillery in Port Alberni. (PHOTO COURTESY LEE SIMMONS)
Something’s brewing with North Island College’s newest program

Port Alberni grad Ellie Hadley hopes to turn new skills into thriving business

Nurse and educator Carol Tinga was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. The community has raised more than $89,000 to help reduce financial stress so that Tinga and her family and focus on treatment and enjoy their time together. Photo submitted
Valley stepping up to support nurse who cared for many

A fundraiser has raised more than $89,000 for Carol Tinga who was diagnosed with cancer

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the raft regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogan’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. The website for a Broadway theatre showing "Springsteen on Broadway" said it would only allow guests "fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine" — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
No Springsteen for you: AstraZeneca not good enough to qualify for Broadway ticket

Victoria area mayor among those unable to attend New York entertainment due to COVID-19 restriction

Most Read