Since things seem relatively quiet on the election front (for the moment), we can pause to reflect on a story or two that we might have missed over the holidays. For instance, the Supreme Court of Canada decided that they didn’t want to hear from Kornelis Klevering on the matter of 2011 Federal Election results in Guelph. The Marijuana Party candidate wanted the election results overturned because of the fraudulent robocalls made to Guelph voters on election day, but SCOC seems satisfied in the constitutionality of the 2011 results.
According to a December 30 article in the Guelph Mercury, Klevering has been delivered a letter by Registrar Roger Bilodeau saying that his appeal to the Supreme Court was premature as the Federal Court of Appeal has yet to rule on the case. A Federal Court threw out Klevering’s request to have the Guelph results reviewed, and, if necessary, overturned, to see if the robocalls to thousands of Guelph households had an impact on voter turnout. Federal Court Judge Martha Milczynski said in her ruling that “Guelph may be singled out as one of if not ‘the’ most egregious example of the voter suppression efforts” in the 2011 Federal election.
So why no ruling to overturn then? The results themselves primarily. Voter turnout was within a fraction of a percentage point as the 2008 results, while Frank Valeriote carried more than 6,000 votes than his nearest competitor, Marty Burke. Klevering finished in sixth place with 171 votes, but to him its a matter of principle saying that the robocall conspiracy, “subtracted from the normal practice of non-interference with the electoral process.”
“Such gross interference is a first in Canadian electoral history, and I want the Court to determine if such an occurrence violated what is considered and upheld to be a free and fair election,” Klevering said.
Klevering was also technically late with his appeal to the court system, only learning of the robocall scandal upon his return to Canada after a winter abroad in 2012. That technicality, and the fact that no precedent has been established in other ridings where the margin of victory was much closer than in Guelph and the results were still not overturned, is likely going to mean that Frank Valeriote will stand as the Royal City’s MP without a do-over election. Unless the Court of Appeal breaks from the pack and submits that the 2011 should be review or recalled, I think the next chance anyone will have to case a ballot in Guelph for a Federal Election will be 2015.