NEWS RELEASE – Prop Rep Referendum Violates Canadian Charter: ICBA Court Petition
BURNABY – The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) filed a 49-page petition in B.C. Supreme Court late yesterday seeking an injunction to halt the NDP Government’s rushed, rigged proportional representation referendum.
The petition lays out arguments that the prop rep referendum process is flawed legally and violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including:
- It is not consistent with the NDP Government’s own Referendum Act, which calls for “a clear statement of the majority of voters on whether to implement a well-defined and comprehensible new voting system, or to keep the existing electoral system”;
- It violates foundational constitutional principles, which require a binding referendum on matters of fundamental importance, “endorsed by a clear majority on a clear question”;
- It does not meet sections 2(b) and 3 of the Charter, “which give British Columbians the right to meaningfully participate in a fair and comprehensible referendum process”;
- It does not meet sections 2(b) and 2(d) of the Charter, which require that “British Columbians be able to fully express themselves and debate fundamental changes to the design of the democratic system”;
- The regulations unlawfully restrict freedom of expression, freedom of debate on matters of public interest, and freedom of association; and
- The Rural-Urban prop rep option, which is not in existence anywhere in the world, violates sections 3 and 15 of the Charter as it creates two different electoral systems that would operate simultaneously.
“Whether people support proportional representation or not, the process set out by the Horgan Government was rushed, the questions are confusing and the rules restrict voters from getting the information they need to make an informed decision,” said Chris Gardner, ICBA president. “On fundamental democratic issues like this, British Columbians have a constitutional right to a clear question, open debate, and as much information as possible.”
ICBA wants the court to quash the referendum’s regulations, declare that the process has been unconstitutional, and issue an injunction staying the vote until the legal deficiencies have been remedied and the constitutional challenge can be adjudicated.
ICBA, which has been joined in the action by the Canada West Construction Union and Kenneth Baerg, is represented by Peter A. Gall, one of Canada’s most accomplished litigators.
“It’s not fair and it’s hard not to think that the NDP are rigging the referendum to the result they want – this is a betrayal of the democratic principles that form the basis of our government,” said Gardner. “This process is fundamentally flawed and should be restarted to ensure its integrity.”
The full, 49-page filing can be found HERE.