Council of Canadians support for legal challenges “stirring up strife” (at least we’re not extremists)

Media Release
May 24, 2012

OTTAWA – The Conservative Party of Canada’s lawyers yesterday filed a second motion to dismiss the legal challenges of individual citizens seeking to overturn federal election results in seven ridings – this time because it alleges the Council of Canadians’ support for the cases is “improper.”

The more than 750-page “omnibus” motion is nearly twice the size of the “budget” implementation act, Bill C-38, which seems concise by comparison at only 420 pages.

“We found the Conservative Party’s latest response surprisingly restrained,” said a bemused Council of Canadians executive director Garry Neil. “They have apparently abandoned their attack on the Council as an ‘extremist’ group and, unlike the epithets thrown at their political opponents, we aren’t being accused of being Nazi sympathizers, or terrorists, or being on the side of the child pornographers. However, their allegations do verge on accusing us of exercising mind control over the nine applicants, so that’s new.”

“I only wish the Conservatives had put as much time and effort into their investigation of the robocalls scandal as they’ve put into chastising the Council of Canadians,” said Neil.

The Conservatives accuse the Council of “malice” towards the Conservative Party, based on their claim that there is strong “evidence” to challenge the outcomes in “21 ridings where the margin of victory for non-Conservative candidates was less than the plurality” in some of the seven ridings.  If this alleged “evidence” is so strong, why did the losing Conservative candidates in those 21 ridings take no legal action?

The latest motion cites the little-used legal doctrine of champerty and maintenance, meant to prevent frivolous litigation from outside parties with no interest in a case.   But champerty and maintenance was weakened by the courts years ago in a precedent-setting case brought by the National Citizens Coalition, formerly headed by Stephen Harper when he was a “professional agitator.”

“We thank the Conservative Party for highlighting in their motion our Democracy 24-7 Legal Fund and we continue to encourage people from coast to coast to contribute to this fund to ensure Canadians’ democratic rights are upheld through these important legal challenges,” said Neil.  “If the Conservatives are serious about getting to the bottom of the ‘robocall’ affair, they would withdraw their absurd motions and let the Court examine the powerful evidence that has been submitted.”

Two of the Conservative Party filings are available here and here. The Council regrets that the remainder of the full 757-page document is too large for us to have posted yet.  We’re working on it.  

On a more serious note, the Council’s response to these attacks by the Conservative Party of Canada will be made available at www.canadians.org/democracy247

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