A Brief History of Democracy

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

May and Fair Vote Canada Support Court Challenge of First-Past-the-Post

15 November 2011

OTTAWA - Members of the Association for the Advancement of Democratic Rights, represented by the accomplished constitutional Montreal lawyer, Julius Grey, will file their appeal to the Supreme Court to have heard, their case regarding the constitutional merits of first-past-the-post. The motion asks for the system to be struck down. A favorable decision would prohibit its continued use in Quebec and would certainly impact on its continued use in the rest of Canada.

Elizabeth May and Fair Vote Canada were granted intervenor status by the Quebec Court of Appeal and will again apply for such status if the case were to be heard by Canada's Supreme Court. Both parties are represented by Peter Rosenthal, an experienced constitutional lawyer from Toronto, who has also been successful in his presentations before Canada's highest court.

“Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees us the right to vote,” said Wayne Smith, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada (FVC). “The Supreme Court has ruled in previous decisions that this doesn’t just mean the right to put a piece of paper in a box. We are guaranteed the right to effective representation.”

At the press conference Smith announced that, Fair Vote Canada, Canada’s national citizens’ movement for electoral reform will contribute $10,000 in matching funding to support a challenge in the Supreme Court of Canada.

“The damage done by first-past-the-post extends from the voting box to the very degradation of political discourse in this country,” added Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. “When a party can achieve majority control over the entire country with as little as 38% it is evident that our voting system delivers unfair and anti-democratic results.”

“Having gone through the courts in Quebec only to have our empirical evidence and expert testimony virtually ignored, we are hoping that the Supreme Court will hear our appeal and give our case due consideration,” said Brian Gibb from the Association for the Advancement of Democratic Rights and one of the principle plaintiffs in the case. “We anticipate that the Court will render its decision on whether to hear our case within the next six months.”

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