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NEWS: Conservatives move to end legal challenge to election results

Conservative party lawyer Arthur Hamilton

Conservative party lawyer Arthur Hamilton

The Toronto Star reports, “Winning federal Conservative MPs will ask a judge to toss out a court challenge of last spring’s election result in seven ridings where the Council of Canadians says vote suppression was at work. Toronto lawyer Arthur Hamilton said in an interview that the legal challenge brought by the Council of Canadians is ‘flawed’ from the outset, and he intends to ask a Federal Court of Canada judge to strike the lawsuit.”

“The left-leaning citizen advocacy group argues that voters were cheated of their democratic rights in at least seven ridings where they say there are reports of robocalls and other political dirty tricks that were aimed at misdirecting voters from their polls. The ridings are Don Valley East, Elmwood-Transcona, Nipissing-Tamiskaming, Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, Vancouver Island North, Winnipeg South Centre and Yukon.”

“Hamilton — who has previously represented the Conservative Party before the Gomery commission during the sponsorship inquiry, and was involved in the government’s response to allegations around former MP Helena Guergis — views the legal challenge as frivolous. ‘They don’t have any back-up,’ Hamilton said. ‘This is a publicity stunt’. …Hamilton declined to be specific about what grounds he will use to challenge the ‘fatal flaws’ in the council’s lawsuit, except to say that ‘if you don’t do the pleadings correctly, they don’t even get out of the starting gate’. Hamilton would not elaborate out of respect, he said, for a case management judge who hasn’t yet been assigned.”

“However Council of Canadians Board member and lawyer Steven Shrybman said in an interview he finds it strange that the Conservative Party would argue to toss the case before it has even heard what evidence the council will bring to support its arguments.”

“Shrybman said that lawyers for Elections Canada and the Attorney General of Canada have indicated they want the right to appear during the challenge. However, he said they have not indicated they will ‘oppose’ the case but rather will appear as neutral parties. On the other hand, the council has received support from four of the Liberal candidates and three of the NDP candidates who were the runners-up in the seven ridings.”

The Toronto Star article is at http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1162644–conservative-candidates-will-ask-court-to-toss-legal-challenge-to-election-result-lawyer.

For more on our ‘Democracy 24-7’ work, please see http://canadians.org/democracy247.