05/22/2012 03:42 EDT | Updated 07/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Robocalls Scandal: Tory MPs Ask Federal Court To Toss Request To Review Election Results

OTTAWA - Seven Conservative MPs who narrowly won their seats in the last election are asking the Federal Court to toss out a request to review the results in their ridings.

Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton has filed motions on behalf of the seven MPs asking that the cases be rejected.

The almost identically worded motions call the cases frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of process.

They also claim the applications for judicial review were filed too late and don't contain any specific allegations that could furnish grounds to overturn the election results from May 2, 2011.

The Council of Canadians has asked the Federal Court to review the election results in two ridings in Ontario, two in Manitoba, one in Saskatchewan, one in British Columbia and one in the Yukon.

Those ridings are:

— Don Valley East, where Conservative Joe Daniel beat Liberal Yasmin Ratansi by 870 votes;

— Nippissing-Timiskaming, where Conservative Jay Aspin beat Liberal Anthony Rota by 18 votes;

— Elmwood-Transcona, where Conservative Lawrence Toet beat New Democrat Jim Maloway by 300 votes;

— Winnipeg South Centre, where Conservative Joyce Bateman beat Liberal Anita Neville by 722 votes;

— Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, where Conservative Kelly Block beat New Democrat Nettie Wiebe by 538 votes;

— Vancouver Island North, where Conservative John Duncan beat New Democrat Ronna-Rae Leonard by 1,827 votes; and,

— Yukon, where Conservative Ryan Leef beat Liberal Larry Bagnell by 132 votes.

The council alleges misleading or harassing phone calls in those ridings kept some people from voting and may have affected the outcomes.

The law lets voters legally challenge the results in their ridings. If a judge finds anything that would have changed the outcome, a new byelection can be ordered.

Such decisions are extremely rare. But last week, an Ontario judge ruled 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 Wrzesnewsky by a mere 26 votes.

If the ruling stands, a byelection will have to be called in Etobicoke Centre.

But the Conservative lawyers argue there's no proof anything similar happened in the seven ridings up for election review.

"There is nothing in this application that remotely rises to proof beyond a reasonable doubt," the motions say.

"As stated above, the applicants have failed to put forward even one instance where an elector was denied the right to exercise her or his franchise.

"Instead, rather than provide the material facts necessary to sustain a successful election challenge, the application relies upon generalized allegations of 'voter suppression.'"

The Council of Canadians accused the Tories of trying to keep the so-called robocalls affair under wraps.

"These motions are nothing more than an effort to dismiss the democratic rights of individual Canadians," executive director Garry Neil said in a statement.

"If the Conservatives really want to get to the bottom of the robocalls scandal, they would be keen to have these cases heard and decided. Instead, they are bringing entirely meritless motions to prevent that from happening."

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