As the Supreme Court weighs the case to throw out the election results in Etobicoke Centre, Green Party leader Elizabeth May has declared that if there is a by-election, she has requested that her party not put a candidate on the ballot and she thinks the NDP should follow her lead.
In the 2011 election, Conservative Ted Opitz defeated incumbent Borys Wrzesnewskyj by 26 votes. The New Democrats came in third, almost 14,000 votes behind Wrzesnewskyj. There were voting regularities that caused Wrzenewskyj to ask the courts to call for a by-election, and the first court agreed. The Supreme Court is now hearing an appeal from Opitz and the Conservative side.
If the Supreme Court decides against Opitz, a by-election will have to be called almost immediately.
In the past, May has been involved in such an electoral compromise. In 2008, the Liberals, led by Stephane Dion, did not run a candidate against May in Central Nova. May ended up losing to the Minister of Defence by over 5,600 votes.
The results of the case in Etobicoke Centre could throw the whole Canadian electoral system into question. If accusations are true, people were allowed to vote in polls where they didn’t live, there are rumours that some people were told they could vote more than once. In fact, Opitz’s lawyers are arguing that if the close results are overturned, it will hurt the system because it will undermine the confidence Canadians have in the government. Wrzesnewskyj’s lawyers are arguing that if election results are allowed to stand where they are, such questions then will undermine Canadians’ confidence.
If May succeeds in convincing the NDP to stay off the by-election ballot, it could very well boost support for both parties with an electorate that is tired of the constant fighting and dirty tactics they see in Ottawa. However, New Democrats recently rejected the idea of cooperating with the Liberal Party when Nathan Cullen lost his leadership bid.
Meanwhile, the courts denied the Conservative motion to dismiss the case brought forth by the Council of Canadians. The decision in that case, which could potentially dismiss the results of the 2011 election in seven ridings where voters received robocalls, could call the whole of the 2011 election into question.
Photo Credit: Barrie Greens