I find the Etobicoke Center case to be interesting not just because I am a Conservative with a vested interest ( I hate losing) but because as a Campaign Manager in the last election I went to a number of Elections Canada meetings for both of the Electoral Districts I worked in.
For what it’s worth they were located in Langley and Surrey British Columbia.
This question was front and center at all the meetings because a lot of us were startled by Elections Canada’s rules regarding specifically homeless people voting.
Essentially we were told that if a homeless person approached the booth and said he lived in the area he or she was eligible to vote.
Recently,as I am sure you are aware an Ontario Court judge tossed out the election result in which the Conservative Ted Opitz won by a mere 26 votes.
What the correct thing to do is anybody’s guess and I have my opinions and I will share them shortly.
This whole thing reminds me of voting in Saskatchewan in the late 80’s and early 90’s. As scrutineers we were always warned about a certain political party ( I was a conservative, It was not the Liberals and the green and Saskatchewan Party did not exist back then) would fill up vacant rental house just before the election with students,drunks etc, and get them to vote repeatedly.
Most scrutineers were stressed and tense and I recall challenging many a vote.( Hey you have already voted get lost!)
In the case of Etobicoke Centre I feel for all the people involved.
I feel for our guy because as the judge said he did nothing wrong and it was because of Elections Canada’s rules that this happened.
I feel for the Liberal ( not really he’s a Liberal) who lost his seat by 26 votes.
I feel for the voters who had their result tossed out.
The problem as I see it in tossing out the result a year later is that it does not take into consideration the climate on the original voting day as compared to what exists now over a year later.
People voted not just for Opitz but to toss Igantieff out!
Quite frankly Mr. Opitz will get screwed if this Ontario court judges ruling is allowed to stand.
What I think should happen is that the Supreme court should throw out the Ontario judges ruling for a number of reasons.
They would be: Courts should not interfere in election results otherwise every close result will be referred to the courts who have no business getting involved.
Secondly people vote on a given day for a given reason. That can change 13 months or more later and is also not fair to the process.( See giving Mike Ignatieff the high hard one above)
What should happen is that the Supreme Court Should allow the election result to stand and admonish Elections Canada for the stupidity of the rules. They should give it a year to report back to the court with streamlined rules to prevent this from happening again.
Everybody should have to show proper ID to vote, no exceptions!
What do you think?