A lawyer for the Attorney General of Canada is citing an old court challenge Stephen Harper launched as a private citizen as precedent for stopping an injunction seeking to stay some sections of the Fair Elections Act before this fall’s federal election. Government lawyer Christine Mohr cited the 2004 case in which Harper, then president of the National Citizens Coalition, attempted to get an injunction on the restrictions against third-party spending in elections. The attorney general is fighting an attempt by the Canadian Federation of Students and the Council of Canadians to get an injunction against key provisions of the new Fair Elections Act.
Mohr, responding to Thursday’s testimony that failure to grant the injunction would lead to irreparable harm if voters aren’t allowed to vote, said allowing voter information cards to be used as valid ID at the polls could lead to fraud and detract from public confidence in the electoral system.
“In Harper [vs. Canada], evidence was brought forward about irreparable harm,” Mohr argued, while adding the court found the alleged harm “did not outweigh the upholding of the law.”
She also argued it was “extraordinary” for a court to suspend a law without thoroughly examining its merits — and granting injunctions with respect to elections “has never been done.”