Progress Update: BC Results, Strategic Opinion, Next Steps

As you’ve likely heard, the results of the BC referendum on electoral reform are in, and British Columbians have voted to keep first-past-the-post. I was disappointed to hear the results, as I’m sure you were. I’m heartened, however, by the energy and momentum that has been harnessed by pro-reform organizers in BC, and hopeful that we can channel that energy into a stronger movement for proportional representation in Canada. 

While we were hopeful for the outcome of the BC referendum, most battles for civil rights are won through a mix of grassroots political advocacy, support for candidates who are willing to stand up for those rights, and legal action against governments who stand in opposition to those rights. Our work on the Charter Challenge for Fair Voting is a key pillar in the fight for proportional representation in Canada. Our goal remains the same: to win a ruling from the courts that our current first-past-the-post voting system infringes on our democratic rights and freedoms.  

Where we stand

Thanks to your financial support, a few weeks ago we reached an important milestone on our path to court. As you may recall, this summer we hired Nicolas Rouleau, a talented lawyer who has argued and won cases in the Supreme Court of Canada. A few weeks ago he sent us a detailed strategy for arguing our case, which builds and expands on the ideas we had in mind when we launched this challenge. Tony and I are excited about the path he’s laid out for this case. Your support made this possible!

Next Steps

To move this case forward, we need your support once again. It will cost about $70,000 to file and submit a notice of application, to prepare the evidence, and secure the expert testimony we need to make our case.

Please donate now to help us reach this goal.

Remember that your donation to the Charter Challenge, via Springtide is a tax-deductible charitable contribution. If you contribute before midnight on December 31st, you’ll be able to claim up to 50% of the value of your donation when file your taxes in just a few months.

Thank you for your continued support, and Happy Holidays.


Mark Coffin

Executive Director @ Springtide

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  • Mark Coffin
    published this page in Blog Updates 2018-12-26 18:57:46 -0400

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Current Status:

- In early August of 2019, we raised enough support ($70,000) to cover the costs of preparing a court application and securing expert testimony for our case.

- The case is being filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on October 9th, 2019

How you can help

The main way you can help is to support the case financially. We need to raise another $150,000 to cover the costs associated with arguing the case at two levels of provincial court, and to file an application for leave with the Supreme Court of Canada. You can make a tax-deductible donation here.

What to expect

- Once filed, the case will be heard in a provincial court.

- Following an initial decision, there will be an appeal heard in another court. If the initial decision is in our favour, the Government of Canada will likely appeal it. If the decision is not in our favour, we will appeal it.

- Finally, the case may be heard by the Supreme Court. If the decision of the appeal court is in our favour, we suspect the Government will request leave from the Supreme Court. If the decision of the appeal court is in the government's favour, we will request leave from the Supreme Court to hear the case. If the case is heard in the Supreme Court of Canada, the decision will be final. If the case isn’t granted leave to be heard in the Supreme Court, the decision of the appeal court will be final.

Time and Money

We estimate the total costs for arguing and overseeing this case to be in the range of $300,000 - $350,000, spread out over the course of 2 - 4 years.

At each step, we will set a goal based on our estimate of the costs at each stage, and ask supporters to contribute to help us reach that goal, and to ensure the case can continue to move forward.