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Electoral Reform Survey

Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

Leader, the government's approach to consulting Canadians on electoral reform has taken a turn towards farce. The consensus of our national media is that the online survey, MyDemocracy.ca, which seeks to determine Canadians' individual democracy style, is about as scientific as a People magazine quiz that decides if you're more of a "Samantha" or a "Miranda."

Today the National Post offered Canadians a survey of their own. For instance, they asked Canadians to decide whether voting in federal elections is good or not so good. They also asked whether Canadians should be able to vote under water, even though they can't breathe under water.

I would argue these questions are no more or less absurd than the actual questions from the government's Web survey. The chief distinction is that the National Post survey doesn't require respondents to disclose their income or education level or postal code and does not claim to have been reviewed by an academic panel. Yet we are informed by the Minister of Democratic Institutions that all the questions that appear on the government's survey, including those that have caught the attention of the Privacy Commissioner, were reviewed by an academic advisory panel.

Can the leader inform this chamber who specifically these academics were that the government consulted to develop the website? Is it actually true that each question was reviewed by this panel?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question and ongoing interest in democratic development.

Let me assure the honourable senator that I will inquire. I don't know the specifics about the question that she is asking, and I will respond as quickly as possible, without a survey.

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