Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's Time For The Courts To Take A Stand

In the wake of Justice Thomas Lederer's decision last week to overturn the election results in Etobicoke Centre, the Conservatives have filed documents to declare challenges to seven other elections mute. The challenges were filed by the Council of Canadians in the following ridings:

  • Don Valley East in Ontario, won by Conservative MP Joe Daniel by 870 votes.
  • Nipissing-Timiskaming in Ontario, won by Conservative MP Jay Aspin by 18 votes.
  • Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar in Saskatchewan, won by Conservative Kelly Block by 538 votes.
  • Vancouver Island North in B.C., won by Conservative John Duncan by 1,827 votes.
  • Winnipeg South Centre in Manitoba, won by Conservative MP Joyce Bateman by 722 votes.
  • Elmwood-Transcona in Manitoba, won by Conservative MP Lawrence Toet by 300 votes.
  • Yukon won by Conservative Ryan Leef by 132 votes.

Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton claims that the suits are "frivolous and vexatious" and that 'the applicants can't point to anyone who didn't vote because of 'irregularities, fraud or corrupt or illegal practices.'" Give the Conservatives credit for chutzpah. In the middle of a blizzard, they would claim the snow was an illusion.

Interestingly, the Conservatives used the same language in an attempt to quash Helena Geurgis' lawsuit against Stephen Harper. Rules are, indeed, vexatious when you are a government of men -- of one man -- not laws.

But Justice Lederer has laid down a marker. We will know what the future holds for our democracy when judges rule on the seven aforementioned ridings. It's time for the courts to remind Mr. Hamilton -- and the men he works for -- that Canada is still a government of laws.


Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I am pleased to see Nipissing-Timiskaming on the list.

Owen Gray said...

That one was particularly close, Phillip. My hunch is that, in a rerun, the seat would revert to the NDP.

ck said...

The very fact that Harper & those 7 MPs lawyer is screaming about quashing a legal challenge does speak volumes. This must mean they don't like their odds of maintaining those 7 ridings in a by-election, court ordered or not. If they were still in honeymoon phase (and they could be again--they have proven a propensity for bouncing back)and all looked good for them to retain and perhaps even raise their vote count, they wouldn't go to all this trouble.

Alice Funke said the same thing about Etobicoke-Center--if they liked their odds of maintaining the riding and perhaps even raising their vote count there, they wouldn't go to Supreme Court to appeal--Harper would be calling an immediate by-election, striking while the iron is still hot.

In other words, I would say, albeit cautiously, that if they're cryin' the blues about a court challenge for those 7 ridings and go to supreme court to overturn decision on Etobicoke-Center, that would be a good sign. I would worry more if they didn't do any of those things. Worried even more if they were gung ho to call by-elections at short dates.

Owen Gray said...

I suspect the Conservatives have known all along how tenuous their hold on power is, ck.

Thus the rush to cram as much policy change as possible into massive bills with no debate.

They know that if they have to go to the people, the tables will be turned.

Anonymous said...

Andrew Prescott said, he shouldn't be held guilty, he was ordered to do the robo-call scam. One site called that, the Nuremburg defense. The Nazi war criminals said, they were ordered to do their ghastly crimes by Hitler. So therefore, they should not be held guilty for those crimes.

Harper will have to appeal the Etioboke Center election, was held null and void by the court. Harper is appointing two Conservative judges. I wonder if one of them will hear Harper's appeal?

Harper trying to quash the robo-call investigation, is a dead give-a-way.

Owen Gray said...

Prescott implies that his support of Harper has been divinely ordained. That's a deeply troubling and dangerous idea.