The NDP applauds amendments to Bill 14 that Opposition parties successfully brought forth this week. The NDP expressed serious concerns about changes to the Elections Act proposed by Bill 14, and about the whole process of amending legislation.
“We should never rush to pass important legislation – it was crucial to ensure this new legislation was done right and that the spirit of Justice Gillian Butler’s ruling on special ballots was reflected in Bill 14,” said NDP Leader Lorraine Michael.
In particular, the NDP took issue with the fact that the proposed amendments on special ballots would still allow for a write-in ballot, as well as a very short nomination period.
The amended bill ensures the names of candidates will be available in special ballot kits. Opposition parties successfully amended the proposed nomination period, increasing the time between the dropping of the writ and the nomination deadline to eight days from the Liberals’ proposed five days.
The legislation was also successfully amended to make election campaigns a minimum of 28 days and a maximum of 35 days.
“No one will get a special ballot until after the nomination deadline, and we ensured that no special ballot will go out without a list of candidates’ names for people to see. I am pleased we argued for amendments to ensure voters will have complete knowledge of their candidate options,” Michael said.
Michael also says it’s vital to have a longer nomination period that enables new candidates to prepare to run in an election, especially for byelections.
“I hope we make changes in the House, and start using our committee structure, to allow us to work together on legislation in a fruitful way.”