The meaning of Etobicoke Centre

by Aaron Wherry

The Toronto Star, Greg Fingas, Omar Alghabra and, quoted below, Adam Goldenberg consider the Supreme Court’s impending decision on Etobicoke Centre.

We elect a Parliament, not a government; we vote for our local MP, not the Prime Minister. Political parties do not “win” elections, successful local candidates do, and the party with the most of them gets the first chance to form the government. In an election, as in Parliament, the individual matters more than the aggregate, the vote tally as much as the winner, and the result no less than the outcome. The same logic—that every vote matters—explains why we choose our leaders in elections in the first place; if efficiency were all-important, we would use opinion polls, instead.

This is a principled argument. Elections Canada offers a practical one. And perhaps, as Mr. Mayrand argues, the perfect should not become the enemy of the good; a simple bureaucratic snafu may not be enough to upend an election, unless the outcome hangs in the balance. But if the Supreme Court accepts his argument, it will be conceding not just that Canada’s electoral system is imperfect, but also that our commitment to our own democracy is more limited than we might have hoped. Canadians should expect only as much democracy as we can afford.

See previously: A day in court




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The meaning of Etobicoke Centre

  1. Shocking that a partisan Liberal staffer would support the Liberal legal viewpoint. Shocking!

  2. What is wrong with Elections Canada? It seems they have been able to show that some of the voters without an address are actually Canadians and that seems to satisfy them as if it doesn’t matter which riding we vote in or how many times.
    They handled the in-and-out scheme poorly, they have not been inspiring confidence with their suggestion that parties should monitor their use of robocalls themselves, and now they seem to be telling Canadians to just go and vote in whatever riding we want to and they’ll turn a blind eye.

    • Certainly makes the case for electoral reform all the more urgent, if the current rules are being, if not ignored, more considered a guideline.

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