A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[LINK] Three notes on elections in Canada: Etobicoke Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Alberta

  • In the Toronto federal electoral riding of Etobicoke Centre, defeated Liberal Boris Wrzesnewskyj is drawing on previous reports of electoral irregularities to launch a legal challenge to the election outcome. This could be quite big.
  • Arguments have begun in a legal challenge of the federal election result in the Toronto riding of Etobicoke Centre, where former Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj lost by 26 votes to Conservative Ted Optiz last spring.

    The defeated Liberal MP is questioning election paperwork and records involving 181 ballots. His case is based on votes from 10 polls — representing about five per cent of the riding.

    “The rules matter,” Wrzesnewskyj told reporters outside the courthouse on Monday. We live in a democracy that’s governed by rule of law, and the same rules should apply equally to every citizen.”

    “An election is the fundamental bedrock upon which our democracy is built. And if we don’t have confidence in that process, then we don’t have confidence in our elected representatives,” the former MP said.

    “This case allows us to fix what went wrong before the next election.”

    Wrzesnewskyj’s lawyer, Gavin Tighe, told Ontario Superior Court in Toronto that the legal challenge of the May 2 result is based on “irregularites” with some of the voting paperwork, including the failure to check off whether voters showed proper identification.

    Other records suggest some ballots may have been cast illegally, by people voting at incorrect polling stations, which runs counter to the Elections Act.

    However, the defeated MP’s lawyer conceded that he is not alleging any fraud or corruption in the vote.

  • In Ontario, it turns out that the NDP isn’t going to precipitate an election by defeating the Liberal minority government over the budget. The Liberals gave in to some of the NDP’s demands.

    At a final meeting today, Premier Dalton McGuinty and NDP leader Andrea Horwath discussed a proposal that would integrate some key NDP goals into the 2012 budget and avoid an election (which is automatically triggered if a government loses the budget vote). The biggest element of that deal: the Liberals have accepted NDP calls for a two per cent surtax on those who earn more than $500,000. Revenue from that tax will go to reducing the deficit, and it will be eliminated when the deficit is, in 2017. McGuinty has also agreed to provide additional financial support to hospitals in northern Ontario, support for some child-care spaces that were previously in danger, and some transitional funding for the horse-racing industry.

    Speaking to reporters earlier today, McGuinty described the proposal as a “sensible compromise,” one that provides for key NDP goals while also respecting the fact that citizens aren’t clamouring for a return to the polls anytime soon. Several Liberal MPPs are also supportive of the surtax as a matter of policy, and have been urging McGuinty to accept it in caucus meetings.

    Today is, without doubt, a big win for the NDP and for Andrea Horwath, who emerge from these negotiations with a stronger political voice than ever before. They won real concessions from the government that reflect core NDP values, but also showed themselves to be true to their word when they say they are committed to having the current minority government work. “I still have many concerns…for everyday people this budget still falls short,” Horwath told reporters, “but I feel that we serve the public better by working together in the legislature.”

  • Alberta has had its election, with polls indicating a likelihood–but not certainty–of a regime change, the Progressive Conservatives who’ve been ruling the province since before my birth being replaced by the new right-wing Wildrose Party. Changes are afoot, and not jut in federalism..
  • Albertans remained on tenterhooks Monday night as they waited to see whether they had elected a new government for the first time in four decades.

    The polls closed at 8 p.m. local time.

    Members of the Wildrose Party remained optimistic that they could unseat the incumbent Progressive Conservative party, which has ruled the Alberta legislature since 1971.

    Mired by a litany of petty scandals, and the perception that the ruling Tories had grown corrupt and stale, Wildrose maintained a lead in the polls throughout the most tumultuous campaign in recent memory.

    If Ms. Smith wins, it will reflect a province reaching back to its traditional, conservative roots, a moral fibre at odds with the Red Tory values Ms. Redford represents, said Cliff Fryers, the Wildrose campaign chairman.

    Mr. Fryers said Ms. Redford is likely to lose because she alienated the province’s conservative wing after she won the leadership of the PC party in October.

    Also, if the premier had called the election right after she was chosen to head the party, he said this would have been a very different campaign.
    ‘I have a bigger fear of consuming industrially raised chicken than I would ever have about horses’

    “We would have been fighting on her agenda instead of ours,” he said. “By the time we were five days into this campaign, people were not listening to her, they were already listening to us.”

    This 28-day campaign has been called one of the meanest on record. However, Mr. Fryers said it has also been among the most modern ever seen in Alberta’s history.

    “Wildrose reached out to everybody with a very definitive platform, and a communications strategy and tour and ads, everything was coordinated. You’ve never seen that before in Alberta,” he said.

    The upstart Wildrose party cemented during the reign of former premier Ed Stelmach in 2008 as a response to the government’s meddling with oil royalties. Ms. Smith ascended to the leadership of the party a year later.

    The fledgling party is expected to make historic gains in rural Alberta due to their criticism of Alberta Land Stewardship Act, which was created under the auspices of the Tories. The law sparked outrage in the countryside, turning the Wildrose into a de facto opposition party within a few short years.

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    Written by Randy McDonald

    April 24, 2012 at 2:45 am

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