Etobicoke Centre goes to the Supreme Court

A statement from Conservative MP Ted Opitz.

“This is the first time this section of the Elections Act has been considered by a court, and it is  important that it be given the fullest consideration because of its significant impact on our  democratic system. The court made it very clear that there was no wrongdoing by any candidate. Fifty-two thousand  people in Etobicoke Centre followed the rules and cast their ballots. Their democratic choice has  been called into question by the decision relating to 0.15% of those ballots.

There is an automatic right to appeal the decision directly to the Supreme Court of  Canada. Parliament intended the final decision on such a significant matter of national importance  should be made by the Supreme Court of Canada. I will be appealing the decision to let the Supreme Court of Canada decide. It is in the public interest  that election results be respected and that voters not be disenfranchised.

The legal grounds for the appeal will be argued in court. My focus will continue to be on doing my  job. As I have done for the past year, I will continue working hard on behalf of my constituents in Etobicoke Centre.

See previously: Redo in Etobicoke Centre and The race* for Etobicoke Centre




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Etobicoke Centre goes to the Supreme Court

  1. Ted Opitz, in his public statements, seems to have no concern with the idea that he may have won his seat due to voting irregularities. Yet another MP more interested in hanging on to power rather than possible corruption of the democratic process.

    • “Yet another MP displaying more conern with hanging on to power rather than possible corruption of the democratic process”….

      I think your criticism is better directed at Borys Wrzesnewskyj. He is, afterall, the one who held the seat for 3 previous parliaments, and is also the one who’s been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to have the people’s verdict overturned.

      • And would your opinion be the same if it had been Opitz who lost & challenged the results?
        Wrzesnewskyj has been actively involved in ensuring fair elections in other countries. In the small picture he does stand to benefit personally – in the big picture his actions have implications for our democratic process across the country
        I don’t see it as “trying to have the people’s verdict overturned”. He is trying to make sure that an accurate people’s verdict has been reached.

        • Exactly; it may be those irregularities that overturned “the people’s verdict”, given that the number of votes with irregularities is greater than the spread between the two candidates.

      • “… spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to have the people’s verdict overturned.”
        People’s verdict? On what basis do you even know what the people’s verdict is? It is no less a possibility that the people’s verdict should have been Mr. Wrzesnewskyj winning by 53 votes and that 79 people improperly voted in Etobicoke Centre (instead of other ridings), than it is possible that Mr. Opitz did indeed win by 26 votes.
        There is no way to tell. And it is for that reason a byelection must be held, so that it can be determined what the people’s verdict actually was.

      • But it wasn’t hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, so why does it concern you?


      • who’s been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars” – True, however, it is HIS own money – unlike the Cons who, with every court case they dispute (and there are many) spend OUR TAX $$’s to fight!!

  2. As expected.

    Since the trial judge set the bar at “The problems could cast doubt on the results” instead of the more stringent “The problems do cast doubt on the results”, the CPC has no choice but to take it further to prevent a precedent being set that’d make things a lot tougher for them down the road with the Council of Canadians and the results of Elections Canada.

    • Though, given the number of irregular votes exceeds the margin of victory, I think “do” is a more correct description of the facts than “could” in this instance.

      • Not really. “Could” lets us assume that 100% of the irregularly cast votes went in one particular direction.

        “Do” or “Does” requires us look at the votes as being no different from the voting trends of the larger community. So 79 votes, when multiplied by the percentage that Mr. W (I’m not even gonna *try* to spell his name) got in the larger riding (41%) would work out to a difference of 32.. still enough to call the election into question in this case, but that’s not how the judge phrased it.

        In essence, “could” lets us assume malfeasance of some sort. “does” restricts us to assuming unintentional error.

        Edit: after calculating that out myself, you’re right. “Does” is a more valid description.. but the judge still based his argument on “could”

  3. “Their democratic choice has been called into question by the decision relating to 0.15% of those ballots.”
    The margin of victory was 0.04% of the ballots. ‘Nuff said.

  4. Prediction: The SCC will, without addressing anything substantive, throw out the original application (i.e., the lower court judgment therefrom) on limitation-period grounds.

    • Interesting. Was this dealt with at trial? All too often the most important issue just doesn’t come out in media reportage…

    • Maybe you know the answer, I don’t… what is the time frame in which to challenge results?
      I do know he started his challenge in June of 2011; without knowing the exact statute of limitations, one month seems like a reasonable period of time to me within which to launch a legal challenge.

  5. In the Etobicoke case, they examined the votes in 10 polling stations out of approx. 300 in that riding. The judge set aside (discounted) 79 suspect ballots from those 10 stations. How many do you suppose would have been discounted if all 300 stations had been examined?? Extrapolated, it would be 2370 votes ….. it isn’t difficult to figure out what happened, is it? The Liberal candidate (had supposedly) lost by 26 votes.

    There are 308 ridings in Canada – There are approx. 65,000 polling stations in Canada for a federal election. That the cons (supposedly) received only approx. 6000 votes to place them in a majority ….. well, logic has to come in to it, doesn’t it? Add to that, the 7 additional cases filed in court, as well as the numerous affidavits regarding wrongdoing

    In addition, an Elections Canada Returning Officer has filed an affidavit regarding this Cons. MP’s staff actually ‘storm-trooping’ into a Seniors’ residence, scaring the tenants, shouting that the polling station was illegal, shut it down, and carried off all the voting paraphernalia!!

    There is much more to this than we know of … all the questionable actions that took place; robocalls, impersonating the Liberals, EC, directing to wrong polling stations, etc – doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out, does it?

    IF THIS WAS A LEGITIMATE AND HONEST PM, he would be the first one to want to get to the bottom of the whole debacle – he would have called on EC to hurry the process, and increased their funding to allow for an expedient investigation …. instead, he IMMEDIATELY cut their funding to hinder it!! It doesn’t make me wonder at all … I came to the conclusion long ago – when even the best professional polls only had them as another minority govt!

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