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Election-contribution limits to be increased

Third-party communications also regulated in new bill

Justice Minister Heather Stefanson wants Manitoba to have a permanent and regularly updated database of eligible voters for future provincial elections.

"Manitoba is currently the only jurisdiction in Canada that does not have a register of voters," Stefanson said Monday while tabling the Elections Amendment Act.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Manitoba Justice Minister Heather Stefanson tabled the Elections Amendment Act and the Election Financing Amendment Act Monday.</p>

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Manitoba Justice Minister Heather Stefanson tabled the Elections Amendment Act and the Election Financing Amendment Act Monday.

Stefanson added to an exceptionally busy day of legislation by tabling the Election Financing Amendment Act, which increases the election contributions by an individual from $3,000 to an initial $5,000, which would be raised each subsequent year by the rate of inflation.

Currently, there are no limits on third-party communication spending before an election, and $5,000 during the election, said the justice minister. It will become $25,000 during an election, and up to $100,000 for the 90 days before the writ is dropped.

Stefanson will beef up the identification required for a person needs to cast a vote, but there will still be ways to vote without that identification.

In one intriguing change, an absentee voter could cast a ballot for a party rather than its candidate, should the person want to vote before nominations close.

Schools would be required to hold an in-service on voting day, so students aren't exposed to hundreds of adult strangers voting in their schools. It's been debated in recent years, with some parents wanting their children protected, while some teachers argue that polling stations in a school are a lesson in civics.

Stefanson said the new voter database would be based on the final voters list from the 2016 election and would be regularly updated with information from federal, provincial and municipal sources, as well as through direct updates from voters.

She said Manitobans who are 16 and 17 and are soon to become eligible to vote could be added to the register.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

 

 

Read more by Nick Martin.

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