October 22nd, 2020

New law needed to allow safe byelections in COVID-19 pandemic: Greens’ Annamie Paul


By The Canadian Press on October 13, 2020.

New Green party leader Annamie Paul smiles as she speaks at the party leadership announcement in Ottawa, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. Paul is calling on the government to pass legislation proposed by Elections Canada on holding safe balloting before carrying on with byelections in two Toronto ridings. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Green party Leader Annamie Paul is calling on the government to pass legislation proposed by Elections Canada on holding safe balloting before carrying on with byelections in two Toronto ridings.

Canada’s chief electoral officer Stephane Perrault asked the House of Commons last week to pass a law to give Elections Canada discretion to decide how to administer elections in keeping with local health rules amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paul has been calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to suspend the byelections in Toronto Centre and York Centre that are scheduled to take place on Oct. 26.

Trudeau said Friday that he won’t, because the residents of those ridings deserve representation in the House of Commons and the situation could get worse if there’s a delay.

Paul says the situation in Toronto Centre, where she is running, is critical because it’s the densest district in the country and people could risk contracting the virus that causes COVID-19 by going to polls.

She says holding a byelection in a low-income riding with a large racialized population that has been severely impacted by COVID-19 is the latest insult to a community that already suffers from neglect.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 12, 2020

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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