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Democracy Watch filing lawsuit against B.C. Premier’s election call

Case is not to stop election – just to have the court declare election call was illegal

Monday, October 19, 2020

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch announced that it will soon file a petition in the B.C. Supreme Court challenging B.C. Premier John Horgan’s advice to the Lieutenant Governor to call the provincial snap election. The case is not aimed at stopping the election. Instead, DWatch will only ask the court to declare that the Premier’s action violated the fixed election date measure in B.C.’s Constitution Act and the constitutional convention that has been created by premiers calling elections only on the fixed date in 2005, 2009, 2013 and 2017.

B.C. was the first jurisdiction in Canada to enact fixed election date measures with Bill 7 in 2001. The B.C. NDP showed it was in favour of fixed election dates when it introduced Bill 5 in 2017 to change the fixed election date from May to October. The fixed date for the next provincial election was set for the third Saturday in October 2021.

“By calling a snap election instead of waiting for the fixed election date a year from now, Premier Horgan acted like an old dictator not a new democrat,” said Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch. “Hopefully the B.C. courts will rule that the Premier violated the law when he called the snap election.”

Snap elections are unfair not only to opposition parties (as they are usually called when having an election favours the ruling party), but also to people who want to run as a candidate but can’t afford to suddenly drop everything and run. That’s why the federal Parliament, and every province except Nova Scotia, followed B.C.’s lead and enacted fixed election date measures. The UK Parliament has also enacted fixed election date measures.

Democracy Watch will be represented in the case by Emily MacKinnon and Sarah Chaster of Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP in Vancouver.

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Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
Cell: 416-546-3443
Email: [email protected]

Democracy Watch’s Democratic Voting System Campaign