Motions filed on behalf of nine applicants seeking to have federal election results overturned in seven ridings strongly reject the Conservative Party’s procedural motions. Preliminary matters will be considered in the Federal Court beginning on June 25.
The applicants’ motions argue that the Conservative Party submissions “represent a classic ‘divert and defame’ strategy, are frivolous and vexatious and a waste of the court’s time and resources. They should be dismissed with costs”.
“Attacking the Council of Canadians is just a strategy to delay the cases and drive up legal costs”, said the Council of Canadians’ Executive Director Garry Neil. “We believe it is vital to Canadian democracy for a judge to have an opportunity to consider the powerful evidence that fraudulent activity affected the outcome of the May 2011 federal election in these seven ridings”.
The applicants’ motions point out that many public interest organisations provide support for individuals who are seeking to assert their legal rights. The motions cite cases from groups as diverse as the (American) National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People and Canada’s National Citizens’ Coalition (N.C.C.). “There is some irony to this attack on the Council of Canadians for supporting litigation, which the N.C.C. has done for years, because at one time the N.C.C. was headed by the current Prime Minister”, states the motion.
The motions point out that if the arcane legal doctrines of champerty and maintenance were to apply to cases such as the election challenges, it “would impede access to justice and effectively eliminate most public interest litigation”. In a supporting affidavit, Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, states: “If the rights provided to electors under the [Canada Elections] Act are not to remain sterile and unused, it is essential that funding be obtained from third parties”.
The motions argue that the affidavit from Peter Henein is in violation of Federal Court rules. They further refute his “alarmist and somewhat paranoid opinions concerning the Council’s motives and relationship with the applicants … Mr. Henein’s affidavit is the only evidence introduced in support” of the motions to dismiss and “it is comprised entirely of a collateral attack on the Council of Canadians and makes numerous defamatory, irrelevant and contested statements”.
Further information on the ongoing legal challenges to defend democratic rights is available at www.canadians.org/election.
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