OTTAWA – Over 2,000 pages of powerful evidence is being filed with the Ontario Superior Court demonstrating the dangerous effects of the Fair Elections Act on Canadian democracy. This Charter Challenge has been brought by the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students and three voters.
Today is also the third anniversary of the news breaking about the widespread election fraud that took place in the 2011 election.
The applicants will be seeking a court order quashing provisions of the so-called Fair Elections Act, which will suppress the votes of tens of thousands of qualified electors. The evidence from four experts, including B.C.’s former Chief Electoral Officer Harry Neufeld, shows that tens of thousands of voters will be disenfranchised if the provisions being challenged remain in place during the next election.
“Canadians should be aware that the act would make it more onerous for many qualified electors to vote and will disenfranchise thousands of voters. If the provisions we are challenging remain in place for the next election, the validity of the election results could be in question,” says Garry Neil, Executive Director of the Council of Canadians.
The Conservative Party won its majority in 2011 by only 6,201 votes across 14 ridings.
The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students are contesting the Fair Elections Act for the following reasons:
- It makes it more difficult for voters to prove their residence and identity at the polls. Providing the necessary documents showing their current address is a particular problem for highly mobile, younger voters.
- It ends the vouching system which allows voters to vouch for an elector’s identity even when that elector is on the voter’s list.
- It places restrictions on Elections Canada’s ability to inform electors about their right to vote and the electoral process.
- It also strips the Chief Electoral Officer of his authority to appoint, consult, and report to Parliament on the activities the Commissioner of Canada Elections who is responsible for enforcing the act.
“This act is poisonous to our democracy and we believe it is crucial that the sections of the act we are challenging will be struck down,” adds Neil. “People are losing faith in our Canadian democratic institutions, and are voting less, and this act just fans cynicism.”
“Youth and students are particularly targeted by restrictive voter ID policies and the specific removal of voter education campaigns,” said Jessica McCormick, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “This challenge will defend the rights of all Canadians to participate in their democracy.”
The Council of Canadians supported the legal challenge contesting the results in six ridings, following the revelations of widespread misleading calls to voters that aimed to deter people from voting.
The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s largest student organization, uniting more than one-half million students in all ten provinces.
For more information:
Sujata Dey, Council of Canadians 613-796-7724, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah McCue, Canadian Federation of Students, 613-232-7394, email@example.com