Standing down

Elizabeth May suggests that, in the event of a by-election in Etobicoke Centre, the Greens and NDP should stand down to allow for a straightforward grudge match between Ted Opitz and Borys Wrzesnewskyj.

Although Ms. May she said would not normally urge her party to stay off a ballot, the situation in Etobicoke Centre is highly unusual. If anyone was unfairly denied a seat in that riding it was Mr. Wrzesnewskyj, she said, and if there is a by-election it should be “a clean vote between Borys and Ted.”

Ms. May has some history in this regard: Stephane Dion agreed in 2007 to not run a candidate in Central Nova in an ill-fated attempt to help Ms. May defeat Peter MacKay.

There is some general notion that parties might not field a candidate when a by-election occurs to provide an opportunity for the new leader of another party to win a seat, but, at least in recent history, it has been inconsistently applied. The Liberals, for instance, didn’t run candidates against Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest) in 2002 or Joe Clark (Kings-Hants) in 2000 and the Progressive Conservatives didn’t field a candidate against Jean Chretien (Beauséjour) in 1990. But the Liberals did field candidates against Stockwell Day (Okanagan-Coquihalla) in 2000 and Brian Mulroney (Central Nova) in 1983. The NDP fielded candidates in all of those by-elections.

The last time an election result was declared void and a by-election ordered—York North in 1988—the dispute involved a close finish between a Liberal (Maurizio Bevilacqua) and a Progressive Conservative (Michael O’Brien). The NDP fielded a candidate in the by-election and ended up getting ahead of the Progressive Conservatives to finish second.

Astute reader Derek Leebosh notes that in 1942, the Liberals officially stood down in York South when Conservative party leader Arthur Meighen sought a seat, but the CCF candidate (with Liberal assistance) went on to win the by-election. This post from Torontoist explains the situation in lavish detail.

Standing down

  1. The CPC has skillfully exploited the gentleman’s agreements by which so much politics has been done in this country. There is precedent, but I would hate to see us forced into making more and more strict rules because someone has exploited the playing field.

  2. Like the majority of NDP and Lib voters, I’m fine with not splitting the vote to defeat conservatives who would otherwise win with support from a minority of voters.

    As for the by-election, given the resurgence of the NDP during and since the 2011 election, if the NDP runs a serious candidate in this by election, the likely result will likely be more votes for them from the Libs, and an almost certain conservative victory, even with a reduced CPC vote.

    The nightmare scenario for Harper is that NDP supporters in no-hope NDP ridings put aside their partisanship, and focus purely on defeating conservatives. Ditto for Lbs in no-hope ridings for them.

    I personally wish the NDP party brass would stand down and allow cooperation to happen on a riding-by-riding basis, as proposed by Nathan Cullen during the leadership. This by election would be a great place to start.

  3. Lets eliminate all political parties until the bien pensants get their desired result in an election – May is an authoritarian, anti-democracy.

    More options for electorate the better because debate and conflict is necessary for good government – political parties should be encouraged to run candidates everywhere so electorate have proper choice between parties.

    • She’s essentially inviting a run-off between the contestants of a disputed vote. How is that authoritarian?

      I wonder if the Supreme Court can consider this or if they can only nullify. The evidence is that the disputed ballots made a difference in whether the Conservative or the Liberal candidate won, but there is no evidence that the disputed ballots affected anyone else’s chances.

      If there is a tie game in the Euro Cup semi-finals, we don’t invite the teams that were eliminated to join in on the penalty kicks.

      • The problem with inviting a run-off between contestants is that in Canada, we don’t have run-offs. They don’t invite eliminated teams to join a Euro Cup semi-final tie game because the rules have never allowed for it. I’ve never heard anybody imply that democracy is strong the closer it resembles the rules of soccer.

        The problem with this whole scenario, is that the opposition parties are trying to change the rules after the fact. The election happened under conditions X. The Liberals complained, and it might have to be tried again. What May is proposing is that since the Liberals couldn’t win the election fairly under conditions X, that since a do-over is happening, it should be fought under conditions Y.

        I wonder what the Supreme Court would have to say about this… they’re considering weather the results need to be thrown out to have a new election… if they think the opposition parties are going to game the system after the fact, I’d think they’d be much less likely to over turn the previous results.

        • I was rejecting TonyAdams criticism that May’s suggestion is authoritarian. The soccer analogy was for his benefit (I seem to remember he is an Arsenal fan.)

  4. If I were the Supreme Court, I’d want assurances from all previous candidates that what May is suggesting would not happen.

    You want to take about Fair Elections, how fair is it that a failed Liberal candidate spends $300,000 to overturn the results of an election, just to “re-do” the election in a way that’s rigged completely in his favour?

    You want to talk about “real” democracy? Why not letting people vote for the party/candidate that they want to, not the one that Elizabeth May says you should vote for?

    In fact, I’d suspect that were this to happen, Opitz would have some serious grounds to have the NEXT election thrown out. And I wouldn’t imagine the Supreme’s would be too impressed after being used as tools by the opposition parties.

    I know the left-wing mob here insist that every Liberal and NDP voter is actually the same, and the only reason they vote the way they do is because their confused… but if I were an intelligent NDP voter, and my candidate wasn’t allowed to run, I’d be super-pissed. Maybe not pissed enough to go out and vote CPC, but I certainly wouldn’t get off my couch to go help some anti-democratic 1%’er who feels he’s entitled to his gold-plated pension.

    • “Why not letting people vote for the party/candidate that they want to, not the one that Elizabeth May says you should vote for?”

      Right, NotRick. It goes something like this in NotRick’s world, ” I demand my right to vote for you, you vote-rigging bastards!”

      Funny how it’s a Conservative expressing the greatest outrage over the choice of progressive candidates. It’s quite touching, really. I’d hate to see how pissed you’d be if the Conservative candidate ran unopposed – boy, you’d be steaming!

      • Maybe you missed my point. If you’re going to go to court to demand a re-run of an election, I believe it should be contested under the same circumstances as the original election.

        Do you disagree with that? Do you think that election results should be overturned just to give the second place finisher a leg up the second time around?

        Do you think that’s “fair” or “democratic”, or are you just being a disingenuous troll?

        P.S. Yes, I would be outraged if the Conservative candidate was running unopposed. Why the hell would we have a second election if nobody was going to run against him? I would think that would outrage everybody.

        • After you’ve ordered people to run in the election, you’ll have order 100 electors in the riding to sign the nomination papers, and then I suppose you can seize the $1000 deposit from the coerced candidates’ bank accounts. You can then nullify all house and committee votes taken by Opitz, resurrect any voters who have died since the last election, reassemble all the voters that have moved in and out of the riding, and strip the right to vote of anyone who has reached voting age since the last election.
          Back in the real world, the “same circumstances” of a free and fair election consist of a slate of candidates free to stand for election or not, and electors free to vote for any of those candidates or not vote at all

          • Okay, so you think it’s fair to rig the election after the fact. Good to know.

          • “Rigged” being elections in which candidates, parties and voters choose to participate freely.
            Just curious, how are you going to choose the people that you force to sign the nomination papers?

  5. In an attempt to speed up the court case, and because of the
    amount of money and time it would take to obtain all the evidence, ***ONLY 10
    polling stations out of 236 in Etobicoke-Centre are being looked at.

    AS WELL for the same reason (lack of time and cash)…, Borys
    did not file complaints about voting disruption and the robocalls that went on
    from the CONS.

    From article: There
    were a number of reports on May 2, 2011 about disrupted voting at a polling location
    at a seniors’ centre. Borys has
    affidavits from Elections Canada employees detailing these disruptions from Ted
    Opitz’s campaign manager and other CON staff.
    Also new immigrants were targetted by the CONS. Not to mention all the robocalls.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/03/02/pol-election-case-boris-wrzesnewskyj.html

  6. When you consider that this case is based on just 10 out of
    236 polling stations in the riding, you begin to get an idea of just how badly
    EC screwed up. And this is just one riding out of 308 in the country.

    At the very least the Returning Officer and the DROs in this
    riding for the last election should be on a “Do not rehire” list.

  7. Despite all the media stories and all the editorial huffing
    and puffing about what the top court should decide, what happened in
    Etobicoke-Centre is one of the least understood stories of the year.

    There has never been the attempt to tell the full story of
    what happened on election night in some of the 230 odd polls in Etobicoke-Centre.

    http://www.ipolitics.ca/2012/07/12/michael-harris-the-day-the-earth-moved-in-ottawa/

    Why didn’t Elections Canada study all the polls in
    Etobicoke-Centre as they had promised to do? How could 177 voter registrations
    go missing? How did people get ballots to vote when they did not live in the
    riding? Why did EC officials say no one voted in improper polls and then say
    they allowed a group of tired seniors to vote by registration certificates even
    though they didn’t live in the poll.

    Unfortunately for EC, Borys Wrzesnewskyj and his legal team
    have photo copies of all poll book entries, including the date of birth of
    those who voted by registration certificates. Only a handful were seniors. Why
    didn’t alarm bells go off …at EC, when one of their officials entering
    certificates of registration poll by poll from Etobicoke-Centre opened up an
    envelope that should have contained 33 such certificates and found none?

Sign in to comment.