Court hears motions on robocall-related election disputes
A ballot box is shown in this undated file photo courtesy of Elections Canada.
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, June 25, 2012 10:15AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 25, 2012 10:17AM EDT
OTTAWA -- The Federal Court is hearing preliminary motions today in the Council of Canadians' bid to have the federal election results overturned in a handful of tightly contested ridings.
The council has asked the court to review the May 2011 election results in seven ridings where Conservative MPs narrowly won their seats.
The council alleges misleading or harassing phone calls in those ridings kept some people from voting and may have affected the outcomes.
But the Conservative party claims the group is more concerned with attacking them and raising money than getting to the bottom of the so-called robocalls affair.
Party lawyers called the council's conduct improper, unseemly and a clear abuse of the court's process.
The seven Conservative MPs targeted in the council's court action have asked the court to toss out the request to review the results in their ridings.
The law lets voters legally challenge the results in their ridings and if a judge finds anything that would have changed the outcome, a byelection can be ordered.
Such decisions are extremely rare. But this spring, an Ontario judge ruled that enough suspect votes were cast due to clerical errors to warrant overturning last year's election result in a Toronto riding, where Conservative MP Ted Opitz beat Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj by a mere 26 votes.
If the ruling stands, a byelection will have to be called in Etobicoke Centre.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Opitz's appeal in the case.