The Council of Canadians today released two of the documents it intends to present as evidence in support of applications by individual citizens seeking to overturn federal election results in seven ridings.Affidavits concerning all seven ridings are available as pdfs through this page.
“Contrary to claims by the Conservative lawyer that our legal challenge is ‘frivolous’ and a ‘publicity stunt,’ this evidence shows that voters were deliberately misled,” says Garry Neil, Executive Director of the Council of Canadians. “We believe that Canadians were wrongfully denied their right to vote, and this affected the outcome of the election in these seven ridings. That is why we are asking the Court to throw out these election results.”
The first document is a sworn affidavit from Annette Desgagné, a former Responsive Marketing Group (RMG) employee who initially made calls on behalf of the Conservative Party. Three days before the election, however, she was instructed to make calls about polling location changes and was given a new script that did not indicate that she was calling on behalf of the Conservatives.
In her affidavit, Ms. Desgagné states that she specifically recalls contacting voters in the riding of Nipissing-Tamiskaming, as she needed help with the pronunciation. The second document, from Elections Canada, however, states that no polling location changes occurred in Nipissing-Tamiskaming. Only one polling location was changed out of all seven ridings.
“The Conservative talking point that any misdirection was due to an honest mistake just doesn’t add up,” says Mr. Neil.
The Council of Canadians continues to gather evidence in support of the case, and will release more as it becomes available.
Borys Wrzesnewskyj, the former Liberal (and liberal, and very decent) MP who lost his riding by 26 votes will be in court in a few days, contesting the results of the election.
In documents filed in court, Wrzesnewskyj's lawyers claim 181 ballots are in dispute and should be thrown out. Aside from some voters voting twice, the former MP's legal team says some voters did not properly prove their identity or were not vouched for properly when they showed up at the polling station with no identification.Macleans call Wrzesnewskyj's claims "unrelated to the still-simmering Robocall scandal", but that's a bit generous for my tastes. Let's just say it appears to be a different tactic used by the same
Under a court order, Wrzesnewskyj's lawyers were able to examine the ballots at 10 polling divisions, as well as poll books and electors' lists at Elections Canada's office in Ottawa.
The test to declare the election invalid, and trigger a byelection (after any appeals are exhausted), would be a finding that more than 26 ballots, the losing margin, should not have been counted.
And in case you need a reminder of how important this is, and what's at stake, the so-called majority government has taken a giant step towards selling all Canadian resources - water, air, land, and everything in it and on it - to the highest bidder without that pesky red-tape known as environmental review. The number of federal departments and agencies that will be authorized to conduct environmental reviews will fall from 40 to three. A few bullet points from the David Suzuki Foundation:
Reviews protect people as well as natural systems
Canada's environmental review processes and laws are in place to safeguard our families and communities from pollution, toxic contamination and other environmental risks. Today's decision to reduce Canada's environmental review processes and rush the approval of major oil and mining projects, among other industrial development, will lead to poor decisions — putting the health and safety of Canadians at risk.
Pay now or pay much more later
Rushed public review of megaprojects risks could leave citizens on the hook for multibillion dollar clean-up costs when things go wrong later. Most Canadians recognize that our economy needs to shift away from overdependence on non-renewable natural resources to a cleaner, innovative, and diversified economy that protects the health and safety of Canadians — and provides more and better jobs over the long-term. Canada needs a measured and thoughtful approach that ensures that we approve projects that make the greatest contribution to a cleaner, more innovate economy, not a 'rubber stamp' for non-renewable resource development at all costs.
Federal environment reviews matter
Recent reports by the Auditor General have shown that the federal government is failing to monitor oil pollution levels in our rivers and today's decision is weakening the oversight and enforcement that could lead to the approval of potentially dangerous projects. Eliminating or limiting federal environmental reviews means eliminating the environmental safety net for things like fish and fish habitat, which are the federal government's legal responsibility. Provincial environmental assessment processes are inconsistent from each other and often weak, lacking key safeguards of the federal process.