The Civic Holiday: What’s in a Name?

August 1st, 2013 by Abhi Saini

The first Monday of August is observed as a public holiday in most Canadian provinces. This day is frequently referred to as the “civic holiday,” but many provinces and municipalities give it different names.  

Here are a few examples of how the holiday is marked across Canada:

  • In Alberta, Heritage Day is an “optional holiday” held since 1974 to “recognize and celebrate the varied cultural heritage of Albertans.”
  • Saskatchewan Day recognizes and celebrates Saskatchewan’s history and culture.
  • Celebrated since 1976, New Brunswick Day recognizes the culture and the way of life in the province.
  • Some municipalities in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island celebrate Natal Day. “Natal” means “to be born,” and the holiday recognizes the birth of the respective provinces.

In Ontario, the holiday is celebrated differently in many municipalities. Here are some examples:

  • Toronto celebrates Simcoe Day. Major-General John Graves Simcoe was the first appointed Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada.
  • Burlington observes Joseph Brant Day to commemorate Mohawk leader Joseph Brant Thayendanegea, the city’s first settler.
  • Brantford celebrates Founder’s Day to honour the contributions of the families that influenced and shaped the history of the city.
  • Sarnia celebrates Alexander Mackenzie Day.  Mackenzie was Canada’s second prime minister and is buried in the city.
  • Cobourg celebrates James Cockburn Day. Cockburn was one of Canada’s founding fathers and was appointed as the first Speaker of the House of Commons by Sir John A. MacDonald.

The holiday is not observed in Quebec, Yukon and Newfoundland and Labrador, but they hold regional celebrations of their own:

  • In Newfoundland, the City of St. John’s celebrates Regatta Day on the first Wednesday of August. First held in 1816, the Royal St. John’s Regatta is North America’s oldest annual sporting event,
  • The Yukon Territory celebrates Discovery Day on the third Monday of August. Discovery Day has been held since 1911 to commemorate the discovery of gold in the region.
  • The Quebec National Holiday is held annually on June 24 to mark Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day and to celebrate French-Canadian culture.

Should the civic holiday have one name that is used throughout the country, or should we continue to celebrate unique regional identities?

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CIVIX Weekly Round-Up: July 26

July 26th, 2013 by Dan Allan

Today, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian and international politics. For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

Stop the Presses! Missed ad delays appointment of acting mayor

Langley, British Columbia Mayor Peter Fassbender ran (and won) in May’s provincial election. Fassbender (who is now the Minister of Education) planned to step down as mayor in July, but later agreed to take a leave of absence so council could select an acting mayor and avoid a costly by-election.

According to the Langley Times, rules require that the appointment of an acting mayor must be preceded by an advertisement in a local newspaper for two consecutive weeks. The ad ran on July 11, but was not published again on July 18 due to an error. The acting mayor will be elected on July 31 at a special meeting of council.

You’ve gotta fight for your right….to post election signs.

Okotoks, Alberta city councillor Laurie Hodson wants to see more elections signs in town. Hodson wants to abolish existing rules that only allow election signs on private property.

“It is a charter of rights violation,” said Hodson, according to the Okotoks Western Wheel. Hodson feels that free and democratic societies should allow candidates to advertise on public property, and that the current laws favour incumbents who already have name recognition. He acknowledges that an abundance of signs can be an “eyesore,” but believes they can help create an “air of excitement” about the election.

Gifts fit for the (future) king?

You may have heard that a certain royal baby was born this week in England. Prince George Alexander Louis is third in line to be the king of Canada, following his grandfather Prince Charles and father Prince William.

What do you get for the kid who will soon have everything? The federal government has announced that Canada will be making a $100,000 donation to a Canadian child-focused charity, as well as a handcrafted blanket and a selection of Canadian children’s book in both official languages. I have a feeling Robert Munsch’s Paper Bag Princess will be one of the books selected. In stark contrast, Australia’s gift to the future monarch is a baby crocodile.

Ideas to improve voter turnout in York Region has done a phenomenal job of reporting on the upcoming Ontario municipal elections. One story, published last week, even mentions CIVIX.

They asked residents, politicians and ratepayer groups for ideas on how to increase voter turnout, and they received a number of great responses. You can read them all here, but here are some examples:

  • Younger candidates and new faces to increase excitement
  • A task force to review the election process
  • More political discussions at home
  • Offer more pre-election debates
  • Using names for wards, not just numbers

Do you have any of your own ideas to add?

Canada’s 13 Premiers gather in Ontario

The semi-annual Council of the Federation premier’s meetings were held in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. For the first time, the meetings included six female premiers: Nunavut’s Eva Aariak, British Columbia’s Christy Clark, Alberta’s Alison Redford, Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne, Quebec’s Pauline Marois and Newfoundland and Labrador’s Kathy Dunderdale.

What did they talk about? Energy, employment, bullying, emergency preparedness and the Senate were topics of discussion, according to the CBC. CFL picks were also on the agenda, at least according to Yukon Premier Darrell Pasloski on Twitter:


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Egypt’s Pursuit For Democracy: The Second Uprising

July 12th, 2013 by Abhi Saini

Egypt’s pursuit for democracy continues with the ousting of Mohammed Morsi on July 3th, 2013 by the country’s army chief Abdul Fatah el-Sisi. The decision was made after Morsi rejected to agree with army’s terms to respond to the demands of protestors.


Last year in June, Egypt witnessed a mass citizen mobilization to overthrow the government of Hosni Mubarak and replace it with the elected government of Mohammed Morsi to bring in a responsible and democratic government for Egyptians.

During his term in office, Morsi faced criticism for failing to heal the country’s ailing economy, deter crime and produce a democratic government inclusive of all Egyptians interests. Further, he faced accusations for allowing Islamists to “monopolize the political scene by concentrating political power in the hands of Muslim Brotherhood Party.”

Dissatisfied with Morsi’s performance as a leader, thousands of Egyptians, once again, marched to the Tahrir Square to reaffirm their pledge to establish a democratic government. However, this time the uprising focused on reversing the result of last year’s revolution.

Amidst the uprising and mass demonstrations calling for Morsi to quit, his supporters also held demonstrations to show their support for his government and the Muslim Brotherhood party.

Last Wednesday, on July 3rd, the army chief released an official statement noting the ousting of Morsi and the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy supreme leader, Khairat el-Shater, and Salafi politician Hazem Salah Abu Ismail. Further, the army named Adly Mansour, former head of the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court, as the interim president of Egypt.

The decision of coup resulted in a clash between Morsi’s supporters and his opponents across Egypt. The post-coup clash resulted in the death of 26 people and left 850 people wounded.

On Monday July 8th, 51 people were allegedly killed when Egyptian soldiers and police clashed with the Islamists at a “sit-in” by supporters of Morsi.

Following the incident, the army released a public statement that a group tried to “storm the Republican Guard compound; killed one soldier and wounded many others.” As a result, the military retaliated against the armed assailants with force and issued an arrest warrant against Muslim Brotherhood’s leader Mohammed Badie, blaming him for inciting the violence.

The Monday killings and the arrest warrant for Mohammed Badie, has further escalated the tensions between the supporters and opponents of Morsi.

Following the clashes, on July 9th, the military backed government appointed Noble Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei was appointed as the vice president and Hazem el- Bablawi as the interim prime minister of Egypt.

The new appointments by the interim president were made to “bolster the secular faction” that will compete for power after the “constitution is amended and new parliamentary elections are held, within seven months.”

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood senior leaders rejected the timetable outlined by the interim president and insisted to withdraw from talks unless Mohammed Morsi was reinstated.

In response, Egypt’s army chief, Abdul-Fatah el-Sisi, stated on state television that “the military will not accept political maneuvering, and the future of the nation is too important and sacred for maneuvers or hindrance, whatever the justifications.”

On July 3rd, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird released an official statement from Beijing requesting all parties in Egypt to avoid violence and “engage in meaningful dialogue.”

Further, he noted “Canada firmly believes that implementing a transparent democratic system that respects the voices of its citizens, and that encourages and respects the contributions of civil society and all other segments of the population, including religious minorities, is the best way to restore calm and give all Egyptians a stake in the future stability and prosperity of Egypt.”

The next few months are going to pose significant challenges to the military backed government to unite a deeply divided country and move it forward towards a successful democratic transition. It will also be interesting to see how the interim government will facilitate the demands of the opposition Islamists or whether the renewed faith in liberal democracy will signal the end of religion led government in Egypt.  



Read Abhi’s past blogs on Egypt:

6 June 2012: Paving paths to democracy: the dismissal of emergency law and the sentencing of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt

19 June 2012: Election outcomes in Egypt, France and Greece: Abhi Summarizes a Busy Weekend

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Weekly Round-Up: July 5

July 5th, 2013 by Kate Fane

Every Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian and international politics. For ongoing updates about the latest news in government, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

Ontario By-Elections

The writ has dropped! On August 1, Ontario voters in the provincial ridings of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, London West, Ottawa South, Scarborough-Guildwood, and Windsor-Tecumseh will all head to the polls to select their new representatives for the legislative assembly. Don’t worry if you”ll be heading out early for the long weekend, as advanced voting will begin on July 21st.

Al Gretzky (yep, Wayne’s uncle) has been nominated as the Freedom Party’s candidate for the by-election in the London West riding. According to his bio, Al’s key focuses are on fiscal responsibility and lowering the provincial debt.

Another high profile candidate is deputy mayor Doug Holyday, who’s set his sights on the Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding. If Holyday wins, it would be a major game changer for the Conservatives: they haven’t elected anyone in Toronto since 1999.

A New, New Mayor for Laval

In the future, everyone will be a Canadian mayor for fifteen minutes. Martine Beaugrand has been named Laval’s new interim mayor after running in an unopposed election. Martine, Laval’s first female mayor, will replace previous interim mayor Alexandre Duplessis, who resigned on June 28 after allegations of extortion.

Google Takes Us Inside Parliament Hill

We were seriously excited when news first broke about Google’s street view team hitting Parliament Hill, and now we’re finally able to explore the hallowed halls of the House of Commons, the Senate, and the Library of Parliament.

Surprises in the Nova Scotia Legislature

There will be no paramedic strike in Nova Scotia this weekend, as the House has sent the dispute to binding arbitration. MLAs were called back to the legislature to discuss the issue in a rare emergency sitting. No deal has been reached with the province’s 800 unionized paramedics. 

In other Nova Scotia news, MLA and professional mustache cultivator Percy Paris stepped down from his cabinet position after being charged with assault and uttering threats against Liberal MLA Keith Colwell during what has charmingly been described as a “scuffle” in the men’s bathroom at Province House. 

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Happy Birthday, Canada!

June 27th, 2013 by Dan Allan

The British colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (which contained what is now Ontario and Quebec) combined to form the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867.

The anniversary of this date was first celebrated on July 1, 1879 on a holiday called Dominion Day. Dominion Day was not celebrated again until Canada’s 50th anniversary on July 1, 1917.

Dominion Day was renamed in 1982, and the holiday has since been known as Canada Day.


An initial attempt to rename Dominion Day was made in 1946 in a private member’s bill introduced by Liberal MP Antoine-Philéas Côté. The bill was passed by the House of Commons but stalled by the Senate, who suggested that the holiday be called “The National Holiday of Canada.”

The federal government has celebrated Canada’s “birthday” annually since 1958.  This has always included an afternoon ceremony on Parliament Hill and a concert and fireworks in the evening. The events began being nationally televised in 1968. Click here for information on this year’s events in Ottawa.

Queen Elizabeth II visited for Canada’s Centennial in 1967, and again in 2010. Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, attended Canada Day ceremonies in Ottawa in 2011.

Several noteworthy events have occurred on Canada Day throughout Canadian history:

  • The Canadian National Railway completed the first national radio hookup on July 1, 1927.
  • The CBC held their first cross-country television broadcast on July 1, 1958.
  • The first color television transmission in Canada was broadcast on July 1, 1966.
  • The Order of Canada was inaugurated on July 1, 1967.
  • “O Canada” was named the official Canadian national anthem on July 1, 1980.

Looking for something to do on Canada Day? We’ve compiled a list of “unconventional” Canada Day events in communities across Canada and around the world.

July 1 also marks the beginning of the first ever Canada History Week. Created the Department of Canadian Heritage, the week will promote Canadian history and encourage Canadians to get actively involved in their past.

Visit the Department of Canadian Heritage website for more information on Canada Day.


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7 Unconventional Places to Spend Your Canada Day Weekend

June 19th, 2013 by Kate Fane

Stock up on your temporary tattoos and novelty flags! There are less than two weeks left until events are held across the country to celebrate Canada’s 147th birthday.

Of course, everyone knows that Ottawa is the epicenter of Canada Day activities, and that major cities and capitals will always have the usual fireworks and parades on offer. So for this roundup of Canada Day events, we thought we’d focus on some of the country’s hidden gems.

From Surrey to North Rustico, Jasper to Thunder Bay, we’ve got your Canada Day weekend planned, no matter where you are.


Vancouver may have the fireworks, but nearby Surrey has its own theme park. Featuring rides like the Zipper, the Spider, the Sizzler, and Zero Gravity, visitors of all ages can try their best to keep down their lunches of hot dogs and cotton candy.

And for less adventurous types, beloved indie rockers Sloan and 80’s hair band Platinum Blonde will be performing at the Cloverdale Millennium Amphitheatre, alongside an eclectic lineup that includes an Aerosmith cover band and the Cedar Hills Caledonian Pipe Band.


If you’re lucky enough to be in breathtaking Jasper, Alberta this summer, their Canada Day celebrations offer some real treats: The day starts off with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Mayor and city councilors, followed by a flag-raising ceremony and the famous Canada Day parade. Later in Centennial Park, attendees can take an historical walk conducted by Friends of Jasper National Park, enjoy beer gardens and concerts, and participate in activities for the children. The night culminates with a massive fireworks show and the singing of O’ Canada.


Swift Current
It may only have 15,000 residents, but this Saskatchewan town is definitely pulling above its weight class this Canada Day. The Canadian Cowboys’ Association will be holding a rodeo over the weekend, while Saturday night will see Canadian rockers the Trews performing an outdoor concert in Kinetic Park.

kids canada

Thunder Bay
In addition to the usual red and white, Thunder Bay is going green this Canada Day. This year’s parade has a green twist to it, promoting “green & active living”. The parade route has been shortened to encourage community groups and businesses to enter a walking, marching, performance or cycling group that promotes sustainable, healthy and active community messages.

Also on their packed roster of activities is face painting, balloon making, craft and circus workshops, disc golfing, Come n’ try Canoeing, Kayaking and Dragon Boating with Lakehead Canoe Club and Wilderness Supply, a photo booth, yoga with Radiant Yoga, artisans’ markets, skateboarding activities with the Thunder Bay Skateboard Coalition, scavenger hunt, and of course, fireworks.


St John
I’m not entirely clear on the connection, but every Canada Day, the largest flea market is the Maritimes takes over uptown Saint John. This year, a charity bingo game will also be added to the mix, alongside other events like the 7th annual Atlantic Canada Skateboard Challenge, a beach volleyball tournament, a hockey challenge, dance performances, bouncy castles, and free historic trolley rides.


North Rustico
The PEI town of North Rustico only claims 600 residents during the winter, but come Canada Day, over 10,000 visitors flood the area to catch the street parade, flag raising ceremony, Dump Road Derby, watermelon eating contest, and boat parade and fireworks show in Rustico Bay.

This year’s Canada Day celebrations have the theme of “Celebrating Maritime Music,” so there’s also sure to be some great performances.

Canada Day London 1

New York/London
This year, even expats can celebrate Canada Day in style!

After eight years of celebrations in London, Canada Day International is now bringing festivities to New York City, and looks to add four more major cities for Canada’s 150th Anniversary in 2017.

Hosted by George Stroumboulopolous in the heart of Central Park, New York’s event features performances by Lights, Joel Plaskett, and Spirit of the West. A giant picnic is also planned, as well as a celebration of cooking from major Canadian chefs.

Meanwhile, the London musical features some of the biggest names in Canadian music: The Tragically Hip, the Sheepdogs, Jann Arden, and the Arkells will all be taking the mainstage, while Lululemon will be holding a free outdoor Yoga session. And of course, no celebrations would be complete without a hockey tournament: this year, eight teams will be competing for the prized Trafalgar cup.


Where will you be spending Canada Day?


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2013 Municipal Elections in Newfoundland & Labrador and Alberta

June 12th, 2013 by Katie Reidel

In January we gave you a quick introduction to all of the elections that would be taking place across Canada in 2013. We just wrapped up our Student Vote program that coincided with the provincial election in British Columbia, and now we are looking ahead once again. Let’s take a closer look at two of the elections that will be taking place this fall; municipal elections in both Newfoundland & Labrador and Alberta.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Labrador voters had the chance to go to the polls only a few weeks ago for a federal by-election that elected former MHA Yvonne Jones to the House of Commons, and they will soon go to the polls again on June 25 to elect her provincial replacement. But the entire province goes to the polls later this year when they elect their mayors, councillors and school trustees on September 24.

The Department of Municipal Affairs is encouraging everyone to ‘Make Your Mark’ by considering running for office. They have created and gathered resources for potential candidates, youth, women, and schools.

It will be awhile before candidates are officially nominated in many municipalities, but St. John’s mayor Dennis O’Keefe made it clear a year ago that he would be running for re-election in 2013. It is also never too early to check if you are on the voter’s list. You can even do it online in some cities, such as Mount Pearl, Corner Brook, and St. John’s.

St. John’s will also be changing its sign bylaws in advance of the upcoming election. Signs can now only go up 60 days before an election, and signs must come down three days after the vote. Signs cannot be within 20 metres of an intersection and will not be allowed on traffic lights.


Alberta’s two largest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, will attract national attention this October for mayoral elections.

Edmonton’s Stephen Mandel will not be seeking re-election this fall, after three terms as mayor. So far councillor Kerry Diotte has expressed an interest in running to replace Mandel, and MP Peter Goldring has also spoken about the allure of the job. Lethbridge will also be electing a new mayor as Rajko Dodic steps down. Trustee Chris Spearman and Councillor Faron Ellis have announced their candidacy so far.

Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi is running for re-election, as is Wood Buffalo’s Melissa Blake and St. Albert’s Nolan Crouse.

Some Alberta municipalities are exploring new aspects for their elections. Medicine Hat defeated a motion to define a new role for a Deputy Mayor, intended to reduce stress on the office of the Mayor as the city expands. Wood Buffalo passed a bylaw that defines the size of election signs, intending to limit the distraction to drivers. And several Alberta municipalities have given consideration to online voting, which we have covered extensively in our blogs.

Stay tuned as we cover the Nunavut Territorial Election and Quebec Municipal Elections in Part 2 of this series!


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An Update on Online Voting (Part Three)

June 5th, 2013 by Dan Allan

Several more jurisdictions in Canada and throughout the world are considering a switch to online voting. Here’s the latest news:


Thunder Bay, Ontario is exploring how online voting could function during their next civic election.  A motion to have a report prepared with more information on online voting was passed by council.

The NetNewsledger notes that online voting would reduce the number of ballots printed, which would be “environmentally positive.” Internet voting would also increase accessibility, as citizens would be able to vote from home.


City council in Milton, Ontario is not ready to implement online voting for the next municipal election in 2014. Council voted 6-5 to reject the proposal.

Milton Mayor Gord Krantz believes that the “paper ballot is sure to go the way of the dinosaur,” but is not comfortable implementing the technology without backing from the federal and provincial governments.

Councilors also expressed concerns over safety, security and necessity. Councilor Rick Malboeuf commented that “if someone can’t get off their butt to spend half an hour of their time vote every four years I don’t know if I want them involved in the decision making. I want the person voting for whoever to be informed and be committed to our system.”


Timmins, Ontario is considering internet voting as an alternative to their vote tabulation system.

City clerk Jack Watson is confident that the technology is safe, citing online banking as an example. Online voting is, however, more expensive. “It’s going to increase the cost of the election, but you’re providing a service to the community, you’re trying to give people more opportunity to vote,” said Watson.

Watson is quoted by the Timmins Press as saying that, “its anticipated there will be something around 80 municipalities using some form of Internet voting at the next election.”


City council in the Town of Ajax, Ontario endorsed recommendations by city staff to implement online voting in time for the 2014 civic election. Traditional voting with paper ballots has been eliminated, but seniors and others will be able to receive assistance at polling stations.

The Ajax News Advertiser notes that the report presented to councilors claims that internet voting is more convenient and accessible, as citizens can vote from home or wherever they are on election day. Online voting would be open for a week or more, so more people will have an opportunity to cast a ballot. Results would be available faster and more accurately.


California State Assembly member Philip Y. Ting has authored legislation to “create a pathway” for online voting in the state. The legislation would allow counties to explore secure online voting systems to improve election day efficiency, increase voting awareness, and improving electoral participation. The bill was passed by the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee by a vote of 4 to 2.

Ting notes that “security issues must be fully addressed before online voting can be viable… But it is important to remember that no existing voting system is perfect.”

Voter turnout in some California municipalities is notoriously low. Voter turnout for this year’s Los Angeles mayoral and city council primary was only 16 per cent.


The Philippines is considering online voting as a way to cast overseas absentee ballots. Voting methods for the remainder of the country would remain the same.

Absentee ballot turnout for the May 2013 election was only 15.35 per cent, compared to 26 per cent in 2010. There are 737,759 registered Filipinos living abroad.

Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. believes that internet voting could increase absentee ballot turnout by 60 to 70 per cent.

Is online voting being considered where you live? Let us know!


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Victoria Day

May 17th, 2013 by Dan Allan

Monday is Victoria Day!

Named after Queen Victoria, the holiday is also known as the Sovereign’s Birthday and celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria and the current reigning monarch, regardless of their actual date of birth.

Canada has had six monarchs since Confederation:

  • Queen Victoria: born May 24, 1819; ruled from 1837 to 1901.
  • Edward VII: born November 9, 1841; ruled from 1901 to 1910.
  • George V: born June 3, 1865; ruled from 1910 to 1936.
  • Edward VIII: born June 23, 1894; ruled from January to December 1936.
  • George VI: born December 14, 1895; ruled from 1936 to 1952.
  • Elizabeth II: born April 21, 1926; began her reign in 1952.

Canada is a constitutional monarchy. Queen Elizabeth II, the current monarch, is Canada’s head of state. The Queen is currently represented in Canada by Governor General David Johnston and ten provincial lieutenant governors.

Victoria was the Queen of the United Kingdom from 1837 until her death in 1901. Queen Victoria presided over many historic developments, including Canada’s Confederation in 1867. Victoria was known by many as “the Mother of Confederation.”

Victoria’s birthday was declared a holiday by the Legislature of the Province of Canada in 1845. After Confederation, the Queen’s birthday was celebrated annually on May 24 (unless that date was a Sunday).

After Victoria’s death in 1901, the Parliament of Canada passed an act to establish a legal holiday on May 24 called Victoria Day. Victoria Day has been observed on the first Monday before May 25 since 1952.


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An Update on Online Voting (Part Two)

April 30th, 2013 by Dan Allan

We have previously written about the debate over online voting in municipalities across Canada. Cities like Sudbury and Cambridge will be able to vote online during their next municipal elections. Edmonton and St. Albert have rejected online voting. Waterloo is still investigating how online voting could be implemented.

Here’s a rundown of some recent online voting news:

East Gwillimbury, ON

East Gwillimbury, Ontario is exploring whether online voting could help improve their voter turnout. City council is currently investigating whether phone and internet voting should be added in time for next year’s municipal election. Only 37 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2010 election.

Wasaga Beach, ON

Wasaga Beach, Ontario is also considering whether to implement internet and phone voting for the next municipal election. Online and phone voting would replace the touch screen voting terminals used in the last two elections, if approved by council. Only 27 per cent of voters cast ballots in 2010. 31 per cent of voters cast ballots in 2006.

Wasaga Beach had problems with long lines at polling stations on election day in 2010, and town clerk Twlya Nicholson believes that internet voting could help solve these issues in the future. Voters would be mailed a pin number they would use to cast their ballot online. Traditional voting stations would still be made available.

Vaughan, ON

The city council in Vaughan, Ontario is currently debating whether online voting could be considered for future elections. Online voting would be used in next year’s elections, and there are concern over the cost of implementing an online voting system and whether it would crash if a large number of electors tried to access the system at one time. Alternatively, council has also discussed spreading election day over multiple days, to ease congestion at polling stations and making voting more convenient.

Huntsville, ON

Huntsville, Ontario has decided to “scrap” the electronic voting system used during the 2010 municipal election due to concerns over hacking. During the last election, the server used by the voting system was “overburdened,” preventing some voters from casting ballots. Huntsville will return to using traditional paper ballots.

Calgary, AB

Calgary, Alberta won’t be voting online this October, but the idea is receiving “growing attention” at city hall. There are still concerns over voter fraud and coercion, but returning officer Barb Clifford thinks that “the technology and the security has taken some major leaps forward.”


The government of Alberta has withdrawn its support from the idea of online voting. Edmonton, St. Albert, Airdrie and Strathcona County had been considering online voting, but Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths announced that they would not financially support online voting. Griffiths is unsure about the reliability of the voting technology.

Strathcona County is still considering a mock election this fall where high school students will test the system.


Postmedia News reported that budget cuts at Elections Canada have “pushed a pilot project on Internet voting off the agenda indefinitely.” According to the article, Elections Canada had hoped to introduce online voting for by-elections beginning in 2013 in an attempt to see if it would increase turnout.

Federal Liberal Leadership

Justin Trudeau was selected as the leader of the federal Liberal party on April 14. The leadership vote took place online and by phone between April 7 and April 14 using a preferential ballot. 104,552 ballots were cast from all 308 federal electoral districts. The process was initially complicated by more than 1,000 voters who could not get the system to accept their date of birth.


Not directly related to online voting, but still worth noting:

A Latvian website has been created that allows citizens to provide input on the legislation considered by their Parliament.  ManaBalss, which translates to “My Voice,” allows citizens to propose initiatives and submit petitions. Any initiative that gathers 10,000 signatures must be taken up by Parliament.

The website allows signatures to be gathered online, where they are verified using similar technology to online banking. Two ideas proposed on the site have already become law, and two are currently being debated.

Is online voting being considered where you live? Let us know!


Posted in News, Online Voting | 11 Comments »

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