Toronto students, concerned citizens tell Harper: Let People Vote!

Students and their allies joined communities across Canada in actions today opposing Bill C-23, the Unfair Elections Act. (CNW Group/Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario)

TORONTO, April 26, 2014 /CNW/ - Students and their allies in Toronto joined concerned citizens across Canada for today's National Day of Action Against the Unfair Elections Act. Yesterday, as a result of public outcry and action, the Conservative government started to retreat from a number of its proposed changes to Canada's electoral system.

"From coast to coast, Canadians have been united in opposing the Unfair Elections Act," said Anna Goldfinch, Ontario representative of the Canadian Federation of Students. "While the government is backing down from some aspects of this bill, momentum continues to build to scrap the bill all together."

The Unfair Elections Act has been widely criticized by students, youth, academics, current and former elections officials, and the media for making it more difficult for young people and people from marginalized communities to vote and limiting the ability of Elections Canada to promote voter turnout.

Yesterday, in response to public opposition, Minister Pierre Poilievre announced that the government will amend the bill to allow voters to use vouching to confirm their addresses and roll back some of the attempts to limit the purview of the Chief Electoral Officer. Serious concerns remain about the use of voter ID cards as proof of address and the muzzling of Elections Canada from implementing programs to improve voter turnout.

"It's clear that the Conservative government is rethinking its attempts to bring US-style voter suppression tactics to Canada," said Vanessa Hunt, National Deputy Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Tinkering with the flawed Unfair Elections Act is not enough. Canadians want the Conservatives to kill this bill."

To mark the National Day of Action, rallies and events were held in several communities in Ontario including Toronto, Barrie, Cobourg, Bancroft and Hamilton. A full list of actions are available here.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the largest student organization in the province, representing more than 350,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students in all regions of the province.

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario

Image with caption: "Students and their allies joined communities across Canada in actions today opposing Bill C-23, the Unfair Elections Act. (CNW Group/Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140426_C5362_PHOTO_EN_39686.jpg

For further information:

Kaley Kennedy, Communications and Government Relations Coordinator:
647-302-3891 (cell) or communications@cfsontario.ca