Maude Barlow: Conservatives rejected again… next stop Federal Court!

By: Maude Barlow | Council of Canadians | Oct. 10, 2012:

300px Maude Barlow 179x300 Maude Barlow: Conservatives rejected again... next stop Federal Court!

Maude Barlow. Chairperson, Council of Canadians

The Federal Court rejected the Conservative Party MPs’ motions on security for costs against the ongoing legal challenges in the robocall scandal.

You’ll remember the Conservative Party MPs called for the nine individual applicants to put up a total of $260,409 as a security deposit – an outrageous 3620 per cent increase above the $1,000 per application required under the Canada Elections Act.

“The respondent MPs have failed to raise grounds or bring to bear evidence that would justify any further payment of security for costs, let alone in the amount requested,” Madam Prothonotary Roza Aronovitch wrote in her ruling.

For the applicants and Canadians everywhere, this is tremendous news! Not only has the Federal Court rejected yet another shameful Conservative obstruction, this ruling clears the way for the cases to proceed to full hearings this December.

Think for a moment about the significance of what’s been achieved here. It’s because of Council of Canadians supporters like you that the applicants and their landmark legal cases will now have their day in court.

But the news isn’t all rosy. Significant legal costs have depleted The Democracy 24-7 Legal Fund and an influx of new donations is needed urgently.

You have the Conservative Party MPs and their lawyers to thank for that. Months of their relentless obstructions have needlessly dragged out the process, forced the applicants to respond vigorously at every turn and driven costs up significantly. Prothonotary Aronovitch spoke to this very issue in her ruling, stating that “these motions have unnecessarily delayed and encumbered these proceedings.”

Even with a legal team slashing fees and providing hours of pro bono work, these needlessly mounting costs have outstripped the generous donations people have made.

Consequently, another $240,000 must immediately be raised for the crucial next stages of the applicants’ cases, including the remaining preliminary issues, preparation of documentation, the Federal Court hearings and possibly a Supreme Court appeal that could follow the decision.

We all underestimated the extreme lengths the Conservative MPs and their lawyers would go to prevent the court from examining the applicants’ powerful evidence.

But they underestimate the passion with which Canadians will defend our democracy 24/7 from any attempt to undermine it.

With this firm belief in mind, today I’m proud to announce the Council of Canadians is redoubling our fundraising efforts. Our goal? To raise the $240,000 the applicants need in just eight short weeks. With the full hearings set for December 10-14, there’s no time to waste.

We can do this people!

Can I count on your support with a $24, $52 or $365 contribution to The Democracy 24/7 Legal Fund right now? You can also help by telling your friends and family to chip in their donation to the Legal Fund too — forward this message on to them!

It’s a small price to pay to restore voters’ rights and defend our democracy.

We’re on the verge of a potential game-changing moment in our country’s history. Now is when we must come together like never before.

With hope and resolve,

Maude Barlow

Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She is a founding member of the San Francisco-based International Forum on Globalization and a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council. Maude is the recipient of 11 honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”), the Citation of Lifetime Achievement which she received at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 16 books, including the international bestseller Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and The Coming Battle for the Right to Water. More about Maude Barlow at: www.canadians.org/Maude

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