Legal representatives for the Conservative MPs from seven ridings argued on June 25 that the lawsuits filed by voters in those ridings should be thrown out because they did not file their complaints within 30 days of the election.
The complaints from each of these voters concern voicemails left by someone claiming to be from Elections Canada telling them that their polling station had moved or harassing phone calls claiming to be from the Liberal Party.
The election took place in May 2011 and the complaints were filed in March 2012 by the Council of Canadians. The Conservative lawyer argued that allowing these challenges to elections results to go ahead would create a precedent, allowing anyone to challenge election results at any time.
The Elections Act states that an election result can be challenged by any person who was an eligible voter in that electoral district on the basis that “…there were irregularities, fraud or corrupt or illegal practices that affected the result of the election.”
The Act also states that the complaint must be filed within 30 days of the result of the election being published in the Canada Gazette or “the day on which the applicant first knew or should have known of the occurrence of the alleged irregularity, fraud, corrupt practice or illegal practice.”
The Council of Canadians lawyer, representing the voters in question, argued that the the 30 day countdown should have started when voters realized these phone calls were widespread and could have affected election results. It is that they did not realize this until the issue of robocalls became widely reported, which didn’t happen until February of 2012.
The judge hearing the case said she would return with a decision as soon as possible.
Photo Credit: JMacPherson