Election reform en route in Ottawa

Canadians who say they don’t have the time to vote could soon be left looking for a new excuse. 

What happened: The government has tabled an election reform bill that looks to increase voter turnout, an effort that is reportedly part of the supply-and-confidence agreement between the Liberal and NDP that has kept the Trudeau government in power.

  • If passed, the bill would extend the advanced voting period by two days, improve the mail-in ballot system, and continue the voting program on school campuses.

  • The bill, once finalized, could become law before the next federal election in 2025 — that is, unless Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre manages to trigger an earlier vote.   

Why it matters: In the last federal election, Canadians aged 18 to 24 had the lowest voter turnout rate, with the turnout generally decreasing overall since 2015. Plus, 43% of non-voters in that 2021 election said they didn’t cast a ballot because of the obligations of daily life.

  • In past elections, getting more young people to the polls has tended to benefit the Liberals and NDP, but that may not be the case in the next federal election.

  • The Conservatives are currently winning over those voters, with 36% of Canadians aged 18 to 29 saying they plan to vote for the Conservatives, according to Abacus Data

Big picture: Amendments to language in the Canada Elections Act will also look to crack down on disinformation, shady or foreign campaign funding, and the use of AI to create deepfakes. It sounds pretty good, but how this will be enforced is anyone’s guess, for now.—LA