Why We're Asking the Courts to Strike Down First-Past-The-Post

Many Canadians were disappointed when Justin Trudeau decided not to honour his commitment to get rid of Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system. We were too.

History has taught us that we can’t always depend on elected politicians to stand up for civil rights. When politicians don’t stand up for civil rights, it’s up to citizens to fight for those rights in court. Nobody else can do it for us.⁣⁣ That's why we began organizing a court challenge against our broken voting system.⁣⠀

 

People are often surprised when we tell them the courts have the power to strike down first-past-the-post. Canadian courts have the power to strike down any law they deem to be unconstitutional, which includes laws that violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (a part of the constitution).

It’s always better when political leaders protect civil rights proactively, rather than in response to a court decision.

Our case is against this government, and will be fought against any future government that chooses to retain first-post-the-post as a voting system. The Charter Challenge for Fair Voting is a court challenge driven by the understanding that each Canadian has the right to effective representation and equal treatment before the law; and our belief that these rights are violated by the first-past-the-post voting system.

In the 2015 federal election 52% of voters cast ballots for candidates that didn’t end up in Parliament. The majority of Canadians are not represented in the House of Commons.

Our request is for the Court to rule that the first-past-the-post voting system fails to honour Canadians’ rights to effective representation and equal treatment before the law. We’ll ask the Court to order the government to develop a system where these rights are protected. We believe that only a system of proportional representation can honour these rights.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be sharing more information about our case, the approach we plan to take, and all that goes into preparing a challenge like this.

Follow us on your favourite social media platform (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter), or subscribe for email updates to learn more.

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PS: You can help move the case forward today by making a contribution towards the legal fees for this case. All donations of $25 or more are tax deductible charitable contributions.

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Key Events in the Case:

  • We're currently waiting for our appeal to be heard (scheduled for Nov 2024)
  • We submitted our appeal factum in late April 2024.
  • We filed our Notice of Appeal on Dec 29, 2023.
  • Justice Ed Morgan issued his ruling on Nov 30, 2023 and unfortunately dismissed our application.
  • The case was heard September 26-28, 2023 in the Ontario Superior Court.
  • We received the government's affidavits in late Fall 2022.
  • We served the government with our affidavit and evidence package in May 2021.
  • We filed the case with the Ontario Superior Court in October 2019.

How you can help

The main way you can help is to support the case financially. We are now raising $25,000 to support the second stage of our appeal process. You can support the case for as little as a dollar a month.

What to expect

At each step, we set a donation goal based on our estimate of the costs for the next stage of the process, and invite our supporters to contribute towards that goal to ensure the case can continue to move forward.