Friday, July 06, 2012

Elections Canada's new motion at the Supreme Court on Etobicoke-Centre

CBC is reporting this today, based on a motion filed with the Supreme Court earlier this week: "Elections Canada has new evidence in Etobicoke Centre." Apparently Elections Canada has found this:
Elections Canada has found that 44 of the voters who were disqualified in the court hearing are in fact on the National Register of Electors, a permanent and constantly updated list of all 24 million potential voters in Canada.

The heart of the lower court decision was about missing registration certificates, or registration certificates that were not signed by the voter. Ontario Superior Court Justice Thomas Lederer was concerned that there was no way of determining whether the voters were Canadian citizens, in the absence of the certificates.
Now since there was a 26 vote margin in the Etobicoke-Centre May 2011 result, affirming that 44 voters were qualified might make a difference, right? But the lower court rejected 79 ballots. 79-44 = 35 still in doubt with that 26 vote margin and just based on 10 sample polls from the election.

Further, the residency of the 44 voters is still in question:
Although the names and addresses of those 44 voters are redacted in the court document, a code shows that almost half of them did not live in Etobicoke Centre in the month before the election.

It is possible that these voters could have moved into the riding during the election period, but since their registration certificates are missing, there's no proof that they were residents of Etobicoke Centre when they voted.
Then there is the matter of Wrzesnewskyj's appeal of the election result having been narrowed to assessing only 10 polls from the election. When there have been reports of hijinks that occurred in locations other than those 10 polls scrutinized in this case, one at a seniors' residence that could have affected the vote as well. Wrzesnewskyj narrowed the proceeding on a consensual basis with opposing counsel in order to expedite the hearing. It is true that having agreed to that narrowing the parties are bound by it. But given the uncertainty hanging over this case, as a matter of equity, that should be factored in.

Otherwise, this doesn't look good on Elections Canada. This information should have been found long ago. If they need greater resources, they should apply for them via the funds they are entitled to under the legislation. We need to have confidence in Elections Canada - period. And on many matters before them.