Two photos and one illustration

Two photos and one illustration

Above: (1) Colonel Oliver Mowat Biggar became the first Chief Electoral Officer of Canada in 1920. It was the first time that Parliament appointed an independent officer to oversee elections.
(2) In a political cartoon from 1873, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald candidly states " I admit I took the money, and bribed the electors with it. Is there anything wrong about that? ". Though not necessarily to be taken literally, it does make a valid point by underlining the lack of ethics in politics.
(3) At Confederation, the responsibility for assembling and reporting election results belonged to the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery. Édouard J. Langevin held the position from 1865 to 1873.

1920 – Introducing Modern Principles of Electoral Administration
Before Confederation and even after, it was not rare to find candidates attempting to buy off, intimidate or otherwise influence voters. The governing party could also get a head start by locating polls where it was likely to receive the most votes, and by arranging electoral boundaries to translate its votes into as many seats as possible.

A new era began in 1920 when Parliament adopted the Dominion Elections Act. This Act introduced the principle of universal voting rights – though many exceptions remained until the 1960s – and a revamped electoral system that protected voters from undue influence. A key measure was the creation of the position of Chief Electoral Officer, an independent officer of Parliament mandated by legislation to oversee federal electoral administration.

Elections CanadaIntroBuy the bookCreditsSelected readingsMenu


Previous
Next
Link to the Social Progress Gallery Elections Canada/…lections Canada