Top court to hear overturned election case this week

A Conservative MP desperate to hold on to his riding and a Liberal runner-up who went to court to get the razor-thin result overturned will make their cases to the Supreme Court of Canada this week.

OTTAWA — A Conservative MP desperate to hold on to his riding and a Liberal runner-up who went to court to get the razor-thin result overturned will make their cases to the Supreme Court of Canada this week.

The outcome of the case will determine whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper has to call a byelection in the Toronto riding of Etobicoke Centre.

Tory MP Ted Opitz won the riding by just 26 votes over Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj in last year’s federal election. But Wrzesnewskyj went to court, claiming procedural irregularities.

Earlier this year, an Ontario Superior Court judge found that Elections Canada officials made clerical errors at the polls. Justice Thomas Lederer threw out 79 votes and overturned the final result.

Opitz appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which will interrupt its summer break Tuesday to hear the case.

Only five other election results have been nullified by the courts since 1949. None of those rulings were appealed and byelections were quickly called to re-determine the will of the people in each riding.

The Etobicoke Centre result was overturned on the basis of improperly filled out paperwork for voters left off the list of electors or who needed someone to vouch for their identity.

In his ruling, Lederer specifically stressed the irregularities were the result of clerical errors by well-meaning Elections Canada officials, not the product of fraud or intentional wrongdoing.

However, since then, Wrzesnewskyj has resurrected other more serious allegations of ballot-box stuffing and voter suppression by Opitz’s campaign, though nothing has been proven.

“Those are all very serious issues,” he said Sunday.

“Hopefully what we’re going to do through this process is restore people’s confidence in the integrity of the system. You can’t have confidence in a system that someone shows up without any ID and is handed a ballot. You can’t have confidence in a system that somebody shows up, isn’t on the voter’s list in the poll, and is handed a ballot.”

A Conservative party spokesman said Opitz was not available for an interview.

Until the top court resolves the case, Opitz is vowing to continue doing his job as MP for the riding. Wrzesnewskyj counters that Opitz should sit out votes in the House of Commons.

“It undermines … our confidence in the democratic system that we have if we don’t know who the actual member of Parliament is,” he said.

Meanwhile, CBC News reported last week that Elections Canada filed a motion saying it found some of the voters whose ballots were thrown out because of registration certificates that were missing or were unsigned.

Forty-four of the disqualified voters are in fact on the National Register of Electors.

The Supreme Court was not immediately able to provide copies of the documents.

Just Posted

(Image from Council of Canadians)
Council of Canadians hold coal mining information rally

Event to take place at City Hall Park at 1 p.m. on Friday

Red Deer respiratory therapist Sarah MacKenzie was among the first central Alberta health professionals to receive the Pfizer vaccine in December 2020. Since then, nearly 3.4 million doses have been administered and COVID cases are falling rapidly. Photo by Alberta Health Services
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall sharply

Red Deer cases almost into the double digits after topping more than 900 only five weeks ago

(Advocate file photo.)
Red Deer city council discusses strategies to restore integrated emergency dispatching

Red Deer city councillors discussed additional ways on Tuesday to try to… Continue reading

Local developers who are doing building upgrades or new construction will face less land servicing costs and gain some flexibility. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) celebrates with defenseman Victor Hedman (77) after Rutta scored against the New York Islanders during the third period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Kucherov shines, Lightning beat Islanders 4-2 in Game 2

Lightning 4 Islanders 2 (Series tied 2-2) TAMPA, Fla. — Brayden Point… Continue reading

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots as Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton (24) defends during the fourth quarter of Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Durant’s sensational performance sends Nets to 3-2 lead

Nets 114 Bucks 108 (Brooklyn leads series 3-2) NEW YORK (AP) —… Continue reading

New York Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Frazier snaps tie, Yankees come back to beat Blue Jays 6-5

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Clint Frazier snapped an eighth-inning tie with a pinch-hit… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Pornhub says it has removed all content uploaded by non-verified users. The sex website faced accusations it hosted illegal content. The company, which is owned by Montreal-based Mindgeek, says it has suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by one of its content partners or members of its Model Program. THE CANADIAN PRESS
International women’s rights advocates call on Canada to hold Pornhub to account

Jeanette Westbrook says being sexually abused as a child will haunt her… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2021 file photo, transporters Miguel Lopez, right, Noe Meza prepare to move a body of a COVID-19 victim to a morgue at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has topped 600,000, even as the vaccination drive has drastically slashed daily cases and deaths and allowed the country to emerge from the gloom. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
US COVID-19 deaths hit 600,000, equal to yearly cancer toll

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 600,000 on Tuesday, even as… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 1, 2019 file photo, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry talks about health care legislation he's backing in the upcoming session, in Baton Rouge, La. The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water was blocked Tuesday by a federal judge in Louisiana. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty's ruling came in a lawsuit filed in March by Louisiana’s Republican attorney general, Jeff Landry and officials in 12 other states. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)
Federal judge blocks Biden’s pause on new oil, gas leases

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and… Continue reading

Israeli police officers detain a Palestinian man during clashes that erupted ahead of a planned march by Jewish ultranationalists through east Jerusalem, outside Jerusalem's Old City, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Israelis march in east Jerusalem in test for new government

JERUSALEM (AP) — Hundreds of Israeli ultranationalists, some chanting “Death to Arabs,”… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) vies for the puck with Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (7) during the third period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Vets Pietrangelo, Perry contributing for Vegas, Montreal

LAS VEGAS — Alex Pietrangelo and Corey Perry had very different free… Continue reading

Most Read