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Monday, April 14, 2008

greens to launch constitutional challenge.

The Alberta Greens sent out a media release today announcing that they will be launching a constitutional challenge against the Alberta Elections Act.

Media Release- Alberta Green Challenge Elections Act

(Calgary, Apr 14, 2008) The Alberta Greens have sent a letter to the Attorney General Alison Redford asking her to change the Alberta Elections Act by Sept 10th,2008, if not the party will proceed with legal action.

“Ed Stelmach was elected by only 20% of Albertans,” said Read. “Obviously, when only 40% of voters turn out something is seriously wrong with our democracy,” said Alberta Greens leader, George Read.

The constitutional challenge, to go ahead this fall unless the government amends the Act, says section 62(2) interferes with the rights of candidates and supporters of small political parties to participate in elections and therefore contravenes the electoral fairness required by section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Read said the provision, which denies the return of half a candidates deposit unless they receive at least half as many votes as are received by the candidate who is elected, cost the Alberta Greens a significant amount of money that it could otherwise use to promote its positions to the voters.

Both the Canadian government and the Ontario government have been forced to change similar provisions in their Election Acts because they were struck down by the courts. “We hope that the Attorney General will do the right thing for democracy,” said Read.
As much as I'd love to comment on this right now, I'm in the middle of wrapping up a paper on Section 23 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the context of Mahe v. Alberta, so I'll have to tackle the Greens challenge later this week...


Gauntlet said...

I think the Greens are going to win this case.

There was a court case in Ontario were a $250 non-refundable deposit if you didn't get 10% of the vote was declared a violation of s. 3 of the constitution.

That will be pursuasive, probably, and it probably will, the Greens will win.

The federal electoral finance laws that give parties money for the votes they receive are also susceptible, though there is a greater chance those could be saved by s. 1, because they actually have a valid purpose.

Anonymous said...

The Greens are either rich or stupid... even if they win this, the amount they would recover in nomination fees will never match their legal costs.

Anonymous said...

with any luck it will highlight the need for election reform.Mr Ed and his posse id certainly not going to tinker with what he views as "not broken".Lets not forget he has said the low voter turnout is a sign of people being satisfied with the performance of government.With that in mind Boutilier in WoodBuffalo is doing a heck of a job.Anyone have aby suggestions how we can instill a citizens revolt and force the government to review its archaic views on representation???

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea how to start a citizen's revolt, you post anonymously on blogs...give your head a shake.

It's always amusing to watch how some people don't learn anything in defeat, because they refuse to blame themselves, so let's all blame the system!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm.From one anonymous to another,right back at you.This is a permitted use and don't shoot the messanger.If Mr Ed is happy,guess we all should be.At least it doesn't appear ot be any sensorship here???Engaging ALL citizens is a good start.Remeber even Mr Ed represents all his constituents,irreregardless of their poltitcal views

Brian Dell said...

You don't have to be rich to launch a court case if you represent yourself.

I haven't got the first $250 back from when I ran never mind the second, but it certainly does seem backwards on its face that the "rich get richer" when the winner gets a second $250.

The Liberal candidate in my riding worked like a dog, personally knocking on every door, and didn't get his full deposit back.

That said, there is a policy reason here and that's to keep people off the ballot who don't a realistic chance at winning. If you don't have a good chance at getting half of the winner's votes, you've got almost no chance of getting more than the winner's votes. You're wasting not just your time but the system's time.

So it's ultimately a logical corollary of the first past the post system. The problem is FPTP, not whether the deposit is refundable. That is to say, the problem is that smaller parties have no realistic chance of winning representation in the first place. Tf one were to believe that's a good thing, then the no refund policy is merely consistent.

Anonymous said...

There is also a constitutional challenge to be made about "every vote being equal" because of the gross rural over representation in Alberta. There will be a re-districting before the next election but historically those have on perpetuated the problem.