Groups ask to appeal ruling in favour of ban on voter information cards as ID

Groups opposed to the government’s new voter law are hoping to put their case to a higher court after having their challenge rejected.

TORONTO — Groups opposed to the government’s new voter law are hoping to put their case to a higher court after having their challenge rejected.

In a motion to Divisional Court, they request leave to appeal a ruling in which a judge refused to suspend a provision of the Fair Elections Act on the grounds that it would be too risky.

“Clearly, an appeal would consider matters of public significance,” the application states.

The Council of Canadians, Canadian Federation of Students and three voters had asked Ontario Superior Court for an injunction against the government’s ban on allowing registered voters to use voter information cards as proof of address at the polls.

In his decision July 17, Justice David Stinson refused, despite finding the challenge raised a serious issue and that some voters could suffer “irreparable harm” by being denied the right to cast ballots.

Suspending a single provision of the act so close to a federal election — which must happen on or before Oct. 19 — was problematic, Stinson said.

In a statement Friday, Garry Neil, executive director of the Council of Canadians, said Stinson had made errors.

“The judge failed to follow Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence underscoring the need to protect the right to vote as fundamental to our democratic system,” Neil said.

The two groups and three individual voters argue parts of the Fair Elections Act enacted last year are unconstitutional. They maintain that thousands of people could be disenfranchised by the new law — mostly students, aboriginals, seniors and the homeless.

However, because the case can’t be resolved before the election, they asked Stinson to grant an injunction against the provision that ends the use of voter information cards as ID.

“He failed to consider the evidence of benefits and harms before him in deciding whether the balance of convenience favoured granting the relief requested,” the appeal application states.

“Had he done so, it would have been clear and obvious…that the balance of convenience favoured granting an injunction.”

Oral arguments on the leave application are to be heard in Toronto July 30, with a decision expected the following week. If successful, the actual appeal would be argued Aug. 28.

The government stripped Canada’s chief electoral officer of the right to recognize information cards as a valid form of identification, saying the new rules will prevent voter fraud.

In the 2011 election, as many as 400,000 people used voter information cards as official ID on election day. The government notes 45 acceptable forms of ID are available.

Just Posted

Canola producers want more biofuel included in diesel

Boosting biofuel requirements would increase canola demand hurt by China trade barriers

Municipal councils looking for savings as provincial cuts loom

Innisfail town council freezes its pay and Lacombe considering 0% tax increase

Red Deer RCMP bait bike project results in charges

Multiple people were charged after Red Deer RCMP’s first bait bike project.… Continue reading

Saskatoon non-profit group plans to create safe place to leave newborns

SASKATOON — The discovery of a dead infant in a Saskatoon recycling… Continue reading

Former spy chief warns Canada resting on its laurels amid global uncertainty

OTTAWA — A former head of Canada’s spy agency is warning that… Continue reading

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

‘The Social’ cast member Jessica Allen clarifies Cherry comments

TORONTO — A correspondent on the Canadian daytime talk show “The Social”… Continue reading

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he’s prepared to vote against… Continue reading

Saskatoon non-profit group plans to create safe place to leave newborns

SASKATOON — The discovery of a dead infant in a Saskatoon recycling… Continue reading

Former spy chief warns Canada resting on its laurels amid global uncertainty

OTTAWA — A former head of Canada’s spy agency is warning that… Continue reading

Geoff Regan among the MPs who want to preside over House of Commons

OTTAWA — Geoff Regan, who presided over the House of Commons as… Continue reading

Gardening: Jasmine: an ideal tropical plant

Jasmine is a vine that grows outside in warmer climates and inside… Continue reading

Most Read