Ontario Election Results Demonstrate Need for Electoral Reform

This week’s Ontario election results show how a minority of voters can elect a powerful majority government. Doug Ford’s progressive conservatives earned just 40% of the vote, but now hold 61% of the seats in the Ontario legislature.

Meanwhile, the majority of Ontarians cast ballots for a candidate that won’t sit in the next legislature and voted for a party that will not be part of the government.

Democratic rights are human rights

Democratic rights are human rights, and when a majority of citizens don’t have a voice in government, their rights aren’t being respected. When elected governments don’t act to protect democratic rights, we must rely on the courts to intervene.

Last year, Fair Voting BC and Springtide began fundraising to take the fight for a fair electoral system to Canadian courts. We’ve raised close to $45,000 so far, but we still need your support to take this case to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court of Canada has made it clear in previous decisions that each Canadian has the right to ‘effective representation’. As former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin put it, representation means ‘the idea of having a voice in the deliberations of government.’  In the eyes of the Court, that’s a right that each of us has, not just some of us.

What we're asking the Court

The Charter Challenge for Fair Voting is a legal challenge with two goals:

1) To have the Supreme Court rule that our current voting system contravenes the Charter

2) To have the Supreme Court order the Government of Canada to adopt a voting system that complies with the Charter, something we believe can only be achieved through proportional representation.

Will you support the case?

A precedent setting opportunity

The case will seek a ruling against the federal electoral system. If the court rules in our favour, it will set a legal precedent for electoral fairness in federal and provincial elections across Canada, including Ontario.

The case is by no means a slam dunk, but we believe that it’s a fight worth fighting.

If you agree, we hope you'll make a donation today.

Donations are tax-deductible

PS: Since Springtide is a registered charity, every donation of $25 or more is eligible for a charitable tax receipt. Support the case today. Depending on how much you give, and what province you live in, you can receive as much as 50% of the value of your donation back when you file your taxes next year.

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Stay tuned to this blog for updates on electoral reform and the Charter Challenge for Fair Voting.

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Current Status:

We are raising the money necessary to file the case in court. In the Fall of 2018 we received a strategic opinion from the lawyer we have retained, advising us on the approach and lines of argument for fighting this case.

How you can help

We need to raise $70,000 to be fully prepared to file. You can donate here.

What to expect

- Once we file, 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, if the Court chooses to grant this case leave, it will be heard in the Supreme Court of Canada, where the decision will be final. If the case isn’t granted leave, the decision of the appeal court is final.

Time and Money

We estimate the total costs for arguing and overseeing this case to be in the range of $250,000 - $300,000, 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.