The Federal Court has nuked the Conservatives effort to stop the courts from hearing a legal challenge to some of the results of the 2011 federal election. With the support of The Council of Canadians, individuals in seven of the more than 40 affected ridings legally challenged the results under the Canada Elections Act. In June, the Conservatives petitioned the court to dismiss the challenge.
“The legal actions to annul results are based on evidence of irregularities, fraud and other activities which affected the outcome of the elections,” the Council of Canadians has said.
During the May 2011 federal election, scores of voters in more than 200 ridings across the country received misleading live calls and fraudulent pre-recorded calls that redirected them to the wrong polling stations. The U.S.-style voter suppression tactics robbed thousands of Canadians of their voter rights. Some of the callers claimed to be from Elections Canada, the “independent” and “non-partisan” agency responsible for conducting federal elections and referendums in Canada. Others identified themselves with the Conservative Party of Canada.
More than 40 000 Canadians have signed petitions demanding an independent public inquiry into the scandal. In an Ipsos Reid poll on the scandal, conducted for Postmedia News and Global TV in March, a whopping 68% demanded new by-elections in all affected ridings.
It’s easy to see why the Conservatives’ are determined to thwart Canadians’ effort to recover their stolen democratic rights. Harper‘s majority is at risk. Let’s take a look at the results of the seven ridings:
- Nipissing-Timiskaming, Ontario, Conservative MP Jay Aspin won by 18 votes.
- Yukon, Conservative MP Ryan Leef prevailed by 132 votes.
- Elmwood-Transcona, Manitoba, Conservative MP Lawrence Toet won by 300 votes.
- Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Saskatchewan, Conservative MP Kelly Block prevailed by 538 votes.
- Winnipeg South Centre, Manitoba, Conservative MP Joyce Bateman won by 722 votes.
- Don Valley East, Ontario, Conservative MP Joe Daniel prevailed by 870 votes.
- Vancouver Island North, B.C., Conservative John Duncan won by 1,827 votes.
And, the courts have already signalled their willingness to restore the integrity of our electoral process. In the spring, the Ontario Superior Court nullified the results of the Etobicoke Centre, won by Conservative Ted Opitz by 26 votes. It ordered a new election. Again, the Conservatives are trying to torpedo the democratic process. They have petitioned the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn the lower court’s ruling.
Last word, from the Council of Canadians:
“Recent revelations of widespread fraud and voter suppression around the 2011 federal election are a harsh reminder that as Canadians we cannot take our democracy for granted. Neither our individual democratic rights nor our collective responsibility ended on Election Day May 2, 2011.”