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Dear Kathleen and Malcolm,
When I wrote you last week to say that we aren’t done fighting the Harper Conservatives’ so-called “Fair” Elections Act, I meant it.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce the Council of Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Students and three voters have filed to appeal the court’s decision last week not to grant the injunction we seek against onerous voter ID restrictions in the Conservatives’ new election laws.
An injunction would permit Elections Canada to allow all registered voters to use their Voter Information Cards as proof of address at the polls.
The court’s ruling found that there was a serious issue to be tried and the legislation would cause irreparable harm to registered electors who are denied the right to vote under these new rules.
As Council Executive Director Garry Neil told media today, “we contend that the judge failed to follow Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence underscoring the need to protect the right to vote as fundamental to our democratic system.”
The Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, who has intervened in the case, has said he will allow all electors to use their Voter Information Cards, together with another piece of authorized ID, to vote in the October election if a decision is made in time.
Evidence from Harry Neufeld, former chief electoral officer of British Columbia, filed in support of the application, concludes that without an injunction “many tens of thousands of otherwise fully qualified and properly registered voters will be disenfranchised.”
Justice Stinson wrote in his ruling that "if the provision in the Fair Elections Act “is ultimately found to be unconstitutional, there will be no way to restore the right of improperly disenfranchised voters to participate in a past election.”
I know how deeply you care about repairing Canada’s broken democracy. Together with your support, we’re working hard to achieve that very goal.
I will have more to report back to you shortly.
With hope and resolve,