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Updated: Fri, 02 May 2014 21:20:05 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Jean-Pierre Kingsley still has concerns over electoral changes



FILE -- Jean-Pierre Kingsley, the Chief Electorial Officer of Canada holds a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday, March 13, 2002. Kingsley to resign as head of Elections Canada, Prime Minister's Office says. Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press

FILE -- Jean-Pierre Kingsley, the Chief Electorial Officer of Canada holds a news conference in Ottawa, Wednesday, March 13, 2002. Kingsley to resign as head of Elections Canada, Prime Minister's Office says. Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press

Canada's former chief electoral officer has come out swinging against the amended version of the proposed fair elections act, known as Bill C-23, including the compromise on the controversial issue of vouching.

"This (Bill C-23) will result in some people having more difficulty voting," Jean-Pierre Kingsley told host Evan Solomon on CBC Radio's The House.

"Some people will not go to the polls because they are confused, so it's a form of self-disenfranchisement."

The government's 45 proposed amendments to the bill are a step in the right direction, but the changes don't go for enough, Kingsley said. The amendments include backing down on the elimination of vouching, but Kingsley says the government missed the mark on that issue entirely.

"What I do not understand is why you require two pieces of ID if you're going to be vouched for by somebody else," Kingsley said.

Show me the fraudsters, says Kingsley

Earlier this week in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Stephen Harper suggested there may be voters who use vouching to cast ballots because they "have no intention" of proving their identity.

But Kingsley called out the prime minister and said if Harper is aware of cases of voter fraud, he should bring that information forward immediately.

"Prime Minister, please tell us who they (fraudsters) are," Kingsley said.

After the next election, the bill should be reviewed by a parliamentary committee in detail, says Kingsley.

"Let us document exactly who is disadvantaged by the rules, who is advantaged ... and get a grip on this once and for and so we start making decisions as a country," Kingsley said.

Kingsley casts doubt on robocalls report

Kingsley also weighed in on the so-called robocalls scandal, the allegations of misleading and nuisance phone calls made during the 2011 federal election that some said were an effort to confuse voters and dissuade them from casting their ballot.

Elections Canada's recent report, which said no charges would be laid in connection with the complaints didn't reveal the whole truth about the robocalls scandal, said Kingsley.

"We may think we've gotten to the bottom of robocalls, I wish I could feel like that," Kingsley said.

It was impossible for Elections Canada to determine what really happened regarding the thousands of alleged cases of misleading or nuisance calls, because Elections Canada wasn't able to compel witnesses, Kingsley said.

Elections Canada officials asked repeatedly for the power to compel oral evidence from witnesses, but the federal government didn't grant the request.

"I would have been satisfied with the result (of the report) if people had been compelled and we still had found nothing." Kingsley said.

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