The lawyers have had their say, the Justices listened and asked questions, and in the end the Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada decided to reserve their judgement.
I don’t blame them. This is an important ruling and they need to be sure it is right.
From what I have read it boils down to a simple question. Ted Opitz’s lawyer is saying that it is a simple clerical error and the election should not be overturned because a clerk didn’t record a person’s name in a book and Borys Wrzesnewskyj’s saying that the rules were not followed properly and those votes cannot stand.
Each side is arguing over the same coin by showing its two sides.
Opitz’s camp is saying that overturning the election “disenfranchises” the people who voted properly and supported the Harper Party Candidate. Wrzesnewskyj’s side is saying that not overturning the result “disenfranchises” those who voted for the Liberal Candidate.
And both arguments are based on the clerks not recording the information properly. Funny old world isn’t it?
My take is that as long as there are more disputed votes than the number of votes separating the two candidates, we need a new vote.
There were 79 votes disqualified, 52 were due to the fact that the original Judge could not determine whether they were registered to vote or not. Of those 52, Elections Canada has determined 44 were registered. That leaves 8. Add those 8 to the 27 disallowed for other reasons and we are still over the 26 vote difference.
What does that mean to me? That the representative for the 100,000+ people in that constituency, 52,000+ who voted, is decided by the 35 voters that may or may not be eligible to vote in Etobicoke.
The question becomes is Ted Opitz an MP or do we need to vote again?
We need to vote again.
We sent our Forces to Afghanistan to fight oppression and to give the Afghan people the ability to vote in free and fair elections.
One Hundred and Fifty of our Forces came home in coffins.
Anything less than a new vote is an insult to their memory.
Anything less is a slap in the face of all those who served over there.
We cannot reach into the ballot box and remove the ineligible votes. The secret ballot is a linchpin in our Democracy, the only other option is to vote again and get it right.
Frankly I’m saddened by the fact that the Harper Party chose this path, rather than respect the court’s decision and just call a byelection.
I would suggest that the Harper Party, rather than chasing this rabbit, they should show Canadians that they are serious about elections. I think they should propose a law that punishes those who interfere with the right of others to vote. Further, any Party that condones these actions should be stripped of Official Party Status and their bankroll should be deposited into the General Revenue of Canada and that any tax refunds for donations to that party be disqualified.
Maybe that would encourage everyone to do the right thing, and make sure their people are doing the right thing as well. Poutine anyone?
Elections Canada needs to clean up their act. I realize that these EC officials (Poll Clerks) are only hired for one day every four years or so but they need to know how to do their job. Each party is allowed scrutineers at the polls as well. They should be taught so that if they see something like this occurring that it is addressed then and not months later. They need to know the rules just as much as the EC officials.
Until then, we can only wait and see what the Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada decide.
I hope it is a decision we can live with, because we will have to.