August 15, 2013 - 4:20 PM
VICTORIA, B.C. - Voter participation in Canadian elections will likely improve in future, thanks to model legislation adopted this week by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, a government-supported organization that works to modernize and harmonize federal, provincial and territorial laws.
During its annual meeting this week in Victoria, the Conference adopted the Model Election Amendment Act, which aims to improve voter participation in elections by amending the residency requirement common in most Canadian jurisdictions. If adopted by governments, the Act would benefit highly mobile classes of voters, such as students and members of the Canadian Forces, who are now often deprived of their right to vote because of the mobility.
"This model Act exemplifies the purpose of the Conference, which is to draft uniform laws for the benefit of the Canadian public and the federal, provincial and territorial governments," said Nancy Irving, President of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada and General Counsel in the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. "Where appropriate, uniform laws can reduce uncertainty and inconsistency, ease mobility, and provide governments with off-the-shelf solutions for common problems."
The Conference also adopted two Uniform Acts: one relating to the recognition of witness subpoenas across jurisdictions, and the other relating to international commercial arbitration. Delegates also continued their work on a Uniform Commercial Tenancies Act; revisions to the Uniform Wills Act; updates to the Uniform Vital Statistics Act in respect of surrogacy, same sex parents, etc.; and the UN Convention on Independent Guarantees and Standby Letters of Credit; and a joint project with the Uniform Law Commission of the United States on substitute decision-making documents.
The Conference's Criminal Law Section debates and votes on proposals to amend the Criminal Code and related statutes. This week it considered over two dozen resolutions or proposals relating to issues such as human trafficking, dangerous offenders, imitation firearms, the enforcement of extra-provincial search warrants, and the penal consequences for providing contradictory evidence. It also received a final paper concerning exemptions from mandatory minimum penalties.
In her address to delegates at Wednesday's closing reception, B.C.'s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Honourable Suzanne Anton QC, highlighted the significance of the Uniform Law Conference's unique contributions to helping reform and harmonize Canadian laws and applauded the efforts of the ULCC's volunteers, who dedicate countless hours to various working groups that inform the annual conference's work.
Delegates to the Uniform Law Conference of Canada are legal experts appointed by the 14 member governments (federal, 10 provincial, three territorial). They include members of the judiciary, law professors, corporate counsel, private lawyers and government lawyers. Approximately 60 delegates attended this year's meeting. The organization was founded in 1918 on the recommendation of the Canadian Bar Association and its work is reflected in many laws across the country.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013