Weekly Round-Up: October 25

October 25th, 2013 by Dan Allan

Each Friday, CIVIX provides a digest of the major events in Canadian politics.

Nova Scotia MLAs sworn-in

Nova Scotia’s MLAs were sworn in on Thursday at Province House in Halifax, before the beginning of a new session of the legislature. Twenty-seven of the 51 MLAs elected during the October 8th provincial election were taking the oath of allegiance for the first time.

Rookie Liberal MLA Kevin Murphy, who represents the Eastern Shore riding, has been named the next House speaker by Premier Stephen McNeil, who was sworn in on Tuesday along with his new 16-member cabinet. Murphy will become the province’s first paraplegic speaker. It was announced before the election that all MLA offices in the province are now required to be wheelchair accessible.

Alberta Municipal Elections

Alberta went to the polls of Monday for municipal elections. Mayor Naheed Nenshi was re-elected in Calgary, and 34-year-old Don Iveson was elected mayor in Edmonton. Visit Global’s Decision Alberta 2013 website for complete results.

Youth were actively involved in a number of the elections, and number of elementary and secondary schools took part in parallel elections during the campaign. Nineteen-year-old Brennan FitzGerald was elected to council in Morinville, and 23-year-old student Morgan Nagel was elected to council in Cochrane.

Nunavut Territorial Election

Nunavut heads to the polls on Monday for the territory’s fourth general election. The territory will be using a new 22-seat electoral map, and a Leadership Forum will be held after the election to select the new premier (as Nunavut uses consensus government and current-Premier Eva Aariak is stepping down).

Elections Nunavut is being challenged on their interpretation of their new Elections Act. A former MLA, currently living in Alberta, was informed that they “cannot express opinions or support Nunavut candidates using social media” while living outside of the territory. A complaint has been filed with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association as the act only explicitly bars individuals outside of the province from campaigning, it “doesn’t prohibit a person from merely declaring support for a candidate or making general statements on an issue of public policy or personally displaying campaign material as long as those things are done in good faith not done to try to manipulate or oppress voters.”

Online voting in BC

Elections BC appointed an expert panel last year to consult on a possible move to internet voting in the province. The panel released a report on Thursday that warns that online voting may not necessarily lead to increased voter turnout and less expensive elections. Security remains a top concern, and there are still a number of challenges to be addressed before a transition should be considered.

Check out our four-part series on online voting to learn more about the jurisdictions considering internet voting for future elections.

Dates announced for four federal by-elections

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Sunday that federal by-elections would be held in the ridings of Toronto Centre, Bourassa, Provencher and Brandon-Souris on November 25.

Those ridings will soon have new Members of Parliament, but what is it like living in a riding without an MP? We blogged about the subject last month.

Local Government Week

The fifth annual Ontario Local Government Week took place this week. Many schools and students across the province took part in activities and events to increase their knowledge and awareness of local government. Check out the #LGWOnt hashtag for examples the great interactions between young people and civic institutions and officials.

This week was also Citizenship Week! “Citizenship Week calls attention to the rights, privileges and responsibilities we have as citizens of this great country,” said Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.

For ongoing updates, follow us on Twitter at @CIVIX_Canada.

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