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Fair Elections Act legal challenge won’t be heard until after election

OTTAWA – The Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students, and three voters will have to wait until after this fall’s federal election to combat the unfair provisions of the Harper government’s Fair Election Act. Yesterday, the Ontario Superior Court refused to grant them leave to appeal a recent decision to deny an injunction against key sections of the new law. In his ruling, Justice Nordheimer pointed to the fact that the appeal is happening too close to the election.

“Timing is everything,” says Garry Neil, Executive Director of the Council of Canadians. “The Fair Elections Act was tabled just a year before a fixed election. Our legal challenge went before the courts two months before it went into effect, but the federal government delayed the process every step of the way. In this case, justice delayed is justice denied.”

 “After years of disappointments, massive debts, and a worsening job market, this law is one more insult to Canada’s students,” said Bilan Arte, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “We have begun campaigns across the country to ensure all students have access to information on how to vote in spite of this government’s voter suppression laws.”

“You would expect a democratic government to support and encourage democratic participation,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “Instead, the Harper government’s so-called Fair Elections Act does just the opposite. Harper is doing everything in his power to keep people from voting – so we are going to do everything in our power to make sure they do.”

The Council of Canadians has launched an ambitious campaign to encourage all Canadians, especially young people, to vote on October 19. The full legal challenge against the Fair Elections Act will be heard and decided at a later date.

PICTURED: Brigette DePape