POLITICS
03/25/2014 01:11 EDT | Updated 05/25/2014 05:59 EDT

Tory MP Laurie Hawn says he was offered voter cards in 2006 election

As MPs review the federal government's proposed changes to the Elections Act, another Conservative MP has raised allegations of attempted voter fraud in the 2006 election.

On Monday, Conservative MP Laurie Hawn told the House of Commons he'd been called by someone who claimed to have scooped up voter information cards from apartment building lobbies.

During a debate on an NDP amendment to the government's Fair Elections Act, Hawn said, "In the 2006 election, I was called personally and offered hundreds of voter cards that had been left in apartment buildings, and so on. Like an idiot, I said, 'No, we don't do that sort of thing,' but should have said, 'Yes, come on down', and had the police waiting.'"

Hawn's campaign actually issued a news release in January of 2006 to announce it had filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Elections Canada about "massive voter list irregularities" in his riding of Edmonton Centre, alleging that non-residential buildings or "non-existent" addresses were listed on the voter rolls. But the 2006 release does not make mention of an offer for voter identification cards.

Hawn's statement was raised at a Commons committee hearing testimony Tuesday on the government's proposed changes to the Elections Act. A Conservative member on the committee, Scott Reid, said Hawn would be testifying at the committee Thursday.

Hawn's anecdote was similar to one conveyed by Conservative MP Brad Butt, who told the House in early February he'd witnessed individuals retrieving voter cards from garbage cans and mailbox areas of apartment buildings.

But on March 24, Butt told the House he wanted to correct the record. He then stated he had not in fact seen these activities taking place.

Use of voter information cards curtailed in 2007

A voter information card is a mail-out sent to all registered voters to confirm that they are on the voters list, according to Elections Canada's website. Before 2006 they were widely used as proof of a voter's residence.

However, in 2007, new rules stipulated the voter cards could be used for proof of address only for specified groups, such as aboriginals, students and seniors in assisted living or retirement homes.

The Fair Elections Act eliminates the use of the voter information card altogether as proof of address.

The proposed bill ignores a recommendation of Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand, who had asked Parliament to expand the use of the voter information cards for the 2015 election.

Hawn's anecdote is the third time a Conservative MP has alleged an eyewitness account of voter fraud during the debate over the Fair Elections Act.

In February, Paul Calandra told the House that in the 2006 election, as a scrutineer for the Conservative Party, he had seen his dead mother's name on a list of voters who were recorded as having already voted.

"She had actually passed away in 2005, and when I asked the person why her name was checked off the list, she assured me that my mother had been in earlier in the day to vote. When I explained to her that was not possible, I was ushered out of the polling station," Calandra said.

CBC News has asked both Hawn and Calandra for more detail about what they witnessed, and why they didn't report the incidents to Elections Canada.