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.