2014–2015 – Report on Plans and Priorities
Judicial Proceedings (Concluded and Ongoing)
Burkhart v. Attorney General of Canada et al.
Ferance et al. v. Attorney General of Canada et al.
Reid v. Attorney General of Canada et al.
Parlee v. Attorney General of Canada et al.
McEwing et al. v. Attorney General of Canada et al.
Kafka v. Attorney General of Canada et al.
The applicants applied to the Federal Court to have the election in their respective electoral districts in the 41st general election declared null and void, on grounds that the results were allegedly affected by deceptive calls designed to mislead electors about the location of their polling sites. The electoral districts involved were Nipissing–Timiskaming (Ontario), Winnipeg South Centre (Manitoba), Elmwood–Transcona (Manitoba), Saskatoon–Rosetown–Biggar (Saskatchewan), Vancouver Island North (British Columbia) and Yukon.
On May 23, 2013, Justice Mosley rejected the applications, finding that while electoral fraud had occurred, the fraud was not on a sufficient scale to undermine the integrity of the results in the electoral districts concerned. No appeal was filed with the Supreme Court of Canada.
Little v. Chief Electoral Officer
On April 25, 2013, Mr. Little, official agent for elected candidate Jeff Watson in the electoral district of Essex, filed an application in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The application sought relief from the Chief Electoral Officer's request that he file a corrected campaign finance return to include as election expenses the value of previously used election signs and the value of an unpaid telephone bill. Mr. Little subsequently filed the corrected return and abandoned his application.
Application of Shelly Glover, MP, under s. 459 of the Canada Elections Act
On May 24, 2013, Ms. Glover, MP for the electoral district of Saint Boniface, filed an application in the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench. The application sought relief from the Chief Electoral Officer's request that she correct her campaign return for the 41st general election to reflect the full costs of signs used during that election. Ms. Glover has since filed the corrected return and withdrawn her application.
Mourani and Lagacé v. Commission de délimitation des circonscriptions électorales fédérales pour le Québec et al.
On September 16, 2013, in the Federal Court, the applicants filed for judicial review of the Quebec federal electoral boundaries commission's decisions regarding two electoral districts in the Montréal area. The applicants alleged that the commission, in redrawing the boundaries, erroneously took into account demographic factors such as future population growth. Elections Canada was named as a party. The application was discontinued on October 25, 2013.
Henry v. Canada (Attorney General)
On January 30, 2008, an action was filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia by individuals and groups challenging the constitutionality of the new voter identification requirements in the Canada Elections Act. The applicants claimed that the requirements would prevent electors from exercising their right to vote, as guaranteed by section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
On May 3, 2010, the judge ruled that, while the provisions of the Act that require electors to prove their identity and residence infringe the right to vote guaranteed by section 3 of the Charter, such a restriction is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. The validity of the provision at issue was therefore upheld.
The applicants appealed the decision and the appeal was heard by the British Columbia Court of Appeal on February 4, 2013. The Court reserved its decision.
Klevering v. Attorney General of Canada et al.
The applicant alleged in the Federal Court that the results of the 41st general election in the electoral district of Guelph were affected by deceptive calls designed to mislead electors about the location of their polling sites. On September 19, 2013, the prothonotary dismissed the application on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence that the misleading calls affected the integrity of the results and because the application was filed past the 30-day deadline.
On September 26, 2013, the applicant filed a notice of appeal with the Supreme Court of Canada. The applicant was subsequently advised that an appeal to the Supreme Court was premature as the matter had not been heard by the Federal Court of Appeal. On October 29, 2013, the applicant filed a motion with the Supreme Court for an order allowing his notice of appeal. On December 3, 2013, the Supreme Court denied the applicant's motion. No appeal of the prothonotary's decision has to date been filed with the Federal Court of Appeal.
Wozenilek v. Elections Canada
Mr. Wozenilek claims before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that Elections Canada treated him in an adverse differential manner because his of disability, which requires him to use a wheelchair. Specifically, Mr. Wozenilek alleges that the absence of an automatic door opening device at the returning office in his electoral district and at his polling site impaired his ability to vote. Mr. Wozenilek claims damages in the amount of $40,000 and requests that all returning offices and polling sites feature automatic door openers. The hearing will be held from February 24 to 28, 2014.
East v. Elections Canada
Mr. East claims that Elections Canada treated him in an adverse differential manner because he is blind. Mr. East alleges, among other things, that Elections Canada failed during the 2011 general election to provide a process that allowed him to vote independently and in secrecy. The matter has been referred to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal by the Canadian Human Rights Commission. No hearing date has been set.
Application of James Bezan, MP, under s. 459 of the Canada Elections Act
On May 24, 2013, Mr. Bezan, MP for the electoral district of Selkirk–Interlake, filed an application in the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench. The application sought relief from the Chief Electoral Officer's request under s. 457(2) that he correct his campaign returns to reflect the full costs of billboards used during the 39th, 40th and 41st general elections.
The Chief Electoral Officer is not named as a respondent, but will seek to be so named. A hearing date has yet to be set.
In a few other cases, Elections Canada is the defendant or respondent in proceedings arising from incidents that occurred during previous elections. These cases are following their normal course through the courts.