The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students announced Thursday they will challenge the Harper government’s new election bill, hours before Gov. Gen. David Johnston was to grant royal assent, making it law. The council and federation will go to Superior Court of Ontario to challenge the law on the grounds that it violates section 3 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the “right to vote in an election of the members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.” The two groups intend to challenge voter-ID provisions that critics say will make it harder for students, aboriginals and seniors to vote, and changes that limit the mandate of the chief electoral officer to promote voting.
Lawyer Steven Shrybman intends to file applications seeking “to declare as unconstitutional certain provisions of the Fair Elections Act for infringing on the right of certain Canadians to vote,” he said Thursday.
A spokeswoman for Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre said Thursday that he is confident the bill can withstand a constitutional challenge.