In the almost evenly divided Supreme Court decision on the Etobicoke Centre election case four out of seven judges decided that even though information about some voters was missing, the burden of voter's verification should not be placed on the voter. Suppressing opponents' voters is much easier than trying to convince Canadians why they should vote for you. In fact, it encourages campaign strategists to avoid serious debates and concentrate on demonizing opponents, misleading voters and undermining confidence in our institutions. One effective way to prevent against cynical gamesmanship is to implement mandatory voting.
As the lawyers who represented Borys Wrzesnewskyj in his contested election application, the four to three Supreme Court of Canada decision to uphold the election result in Etobicoke Centre was, of course, disappointing. Hopefully the decision of the Supreme Court will lead to real and meaningful electoral reform which will reduce or eliminate the issues that led to this application. While the majority decision acknowledges that "imperfection" and "uncertainty" are a part of the electoral process, Elections Canada should always strive to eliminate them.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada will rule on the Etobicoke Centre vote dispute. A landmark 1995 by-election in Harare South, Zimbabwe, suggests that, in the interests of true democracy, Canada's highest court should uphold the decision by Justice Thomas Lederer of the Ontario Superior Court, who nullified the election result of the Toronto-area riding. In other words, voters must be the final arbiter in the dispute.