Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Support quality journalism
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
The Globe and Mail
Support quality journalism
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Globe and Mail website displayed on various devices
Just$1.99
per week
for the first 24 weeks

var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){console.log("scroll");var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1);

Former Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj is challenging the 2011 election results in his former riding of Etobicoke Centre.

BLAIR GABLE/REUTERS

A Conservative MP desperate to hold on to his riding and a Liberal runner-up who went to court to get the razor-thin result overturned will make their cases to the Supreme Court of Canada this week.

The outcome of the case will determine whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper has to call a by-election in the Toronto riding of Etobicoke Centre.

Tory MP Ted Opitz won the riding by just 26 votes over Liberal Borys Wrzesnewskyj in last year's federal election. But Wrzesnewskyj went to court, claiming procedural irregularities.

Story continues below advertisement

Earlier this year, an Ontario Superior Court judge found that Elections Canada officials made clerical errors at the polls. Justice Thomas Lederer threw out 79 votes and overturned the final result.

Opitz appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which will interrupt its summer break Tuesday to hear the case.

Only five other election results have been nullified by the courts since 1949. None of those rulings were appealed and by-elections were quickly called to re-determine the will of the people in each riding.

The Etobicoke Centre result was overturned on the basis of improperly filled out paperwork for voters left off the list of electors or who needed someone to vouch for their identity.

In his ruling, Lederer specifically stressed the irregularities were the result of clerical errors by well-meaning Elections Canada officials, not the product of fraud or intentional wrongdoing.

However, since then, Wrzesnewskyj has resurrected other more serious allegations of ballot-box stuffing and voter suppression by Opitz's campaign, though nothing has been proven.

"Those are all very serious issues," he said Sunday.

Story continues below advertisement

"Hopefully what we're going to do through this process is restore people's confidence in the integrity of the system. You can't have confidence in a system that someone shows up without any ID and is handed a ballot. You can't have confidence in a system that somebody shows up, isn't on the voter's list in the poll, and is handed a ballot."

A Conservative party spokesman said Opitz was not available for an interview.

Until the top court resolves the case, Opitz is vowing to continue doing his job as MP for the riding. Wrzesnewskyj counters that Opitz should sit out votes in the House of Commons.

"It undermines … our confidence in the democratic system that we have if we don't know who the actual member of Parliament is," he said.

Meanwhile, CBC News reported last week that Elections Canada filed a motion saying it found some of the voters whose ballots were thrown out because of registration certificates that were missing or were unsigned.

Forty-four of the disqualified voters are in fact on the National Register of Electors. The Supreme Court was not immediately able to provide copies of the documents.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies