David Akin, National Bureau Chief
Apr 24, 2014 , Last Updated: 3:59 PM ET
OTTAWA The government won't budge on a plan to force voters to produce identification at the polls, but it may be prepared to bend on some other aspects of its controversial rewrite of Canada's election rules, the prime minister's point man on the file said Thursday.
The rewrite is in Bill C-23: The Fair Elections Act, an act that has been vehemently denounced by New Democrats, Liberals and, earlier this week, 400 academics who signed an "open letter" opposing the bill.
Minister of State for Democratic Reform Pierre Poilievre gave a speech on C-23 at a hotel here Thursday and a handful of protesters waved placards denouncing the bill.
Opponents have zeroed in on Conservative plans to eliminate vouching, a practice that lets people vote without any ID so long as someone who has ID signs a declaration that vouches for their identity. About 120,000 voted this way in 2011, or less than 1% of the electorate.
"We're open to improvements with this bill," Poilievre said in his speech. "And very soon, the government will make clear which amendments it will support, but let me be clear on this point: The Fair Elections Act in its final form will require every single voter produce ID showing who they are before they vote. Away from the noise that is political Ottawa, everyone understands that this is common sense."
Voters will have to show ID in 2015
I'm surprised that many people actually voted that way in 2011, even though it only represents less 1% of the electorate.