For Immediate release from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Ottawa - The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) is pleased that a Parliamentary Committee has dropped a proposed change to make the Sunday before an election an official advance polling day. Bill C-16 Expanded Voting Opportunities would have increased the number of advance polling days by two - both on a Sunday. The Sunday advance poll on the Sunday before Election Day would have included all polling stations, similar to Election Day, and this was dropped by the committee.
“The EFC encourages active civic engagement and recognize that we all benefit when Canadian citizens exercise their right and duty to vote,” said Douglas Cryer, director of public policy for the EFC. “However, opening the polls on Sunday would likely hinder the actual intent to increase voter turnout if it is seen as an unnecessary imposition on a time for family, friends and an already established day of religious observance for millions.”
On November 20 of this year, Cryer spoke on behalf of the EFC to a Parliamentary Committee regarding Bill C-16. “We were very concerned that churches will have to compete with Elections Canada on Sundays,” Cryer said. “Many Christians volunteer or work at polling stations and would have to decide between going to church or helping out at advance polls on Sundays. The change in law would also affect churches that host polling stations in their facilities and could potentially displace churches who meet in school gyms and community halls.”
“Every effort must be made to accommodate the cultural and religious diversity and practices of Canadians,” said Bruce J. Clemenger, President of the EFC”. “The intent to increase voter turnout is laudable and it is important to find means that will encourage rather than frustrate participation.”
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The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is the national association of evangelical Christians, gathered together for influence, impact and identity in ministry and public witness. Since 1964 the EFC has provided a national forum for Evangelicals and a constructive voice for biblical principles in life and society.
In addition to 40 evangelical denominations, the EFC affiliates include ministry organizations, educational institutions and individual congregations, who uphold a common statement of faith. It is an active participant in the World Evangelical Alliance.
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