MPs pass Fair Elections Act, opposition demand changes

New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on...

New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 10, 2014. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Jessica Hume, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 11:31 PM ET

OTTAWA - Despite vociferous opposition from the NDP and Liberals, the government's Fair Elections Act passed handily Monday night.

In a predictable 152-128 vote, the motion was passed in the House of Commons and now proceeds to the standing committee on procedure and house affairs, where the Conservatives' openness to amendments and clarification on certain parts of the bill will be tested.

The NDP want further study of Bill C-23.

Among the opposition's concerns are that Bill C-23 strips investigative powers from the chief electoral officer, increases campaign spending and donation limits -- which NDP says benefits Tories most -- and it eliminates "vouching." That's when, on election day, a voter with valid identification vouches for another who doesn't, enabling that person to cast a ballot.

The opposition says without vouching it will be more difficult for "vulnerable" people, including First Nations people, to vote.


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