The Alberta Greens sent out a media release today announcing that they will be launching a constitutional challenge against the Alberta Elections Act.
Media Release- Alberta Green Challenge Elections Act
(Calgary, Apr 14, 2008) The Alberta Greens have sent a letter to the Attorney General Alison Redford asking her to change the Alberta Elections Act by Sept 10th,2008, if not the party will proceed with legal action.
“Ed Stelmach was elected by only 20% of Albertans,” said Read. “Obviously, when only 40% of voters turn out something is seriously wrong with our democracy,” said Alberta Greens leader, George Read.
The constitutional challenge, to go ahead this fall unless the government amends the Act, says section 62(2) interferes with the rights of candidates and supporters of small political parties to participate in elections and therefore contravenes the electoral fairness required by section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Read said the provision, which denies the return of half a candidates deposit unless they receive at least half as many votes as are received by the candidate who is elected, cost the Alberta Greens a significant amount of money that it could otherwise use to promote its positions to the voters.
Both the Canadian government and the Ontario government have been forced to change similar provisions in their Election Acts because they were struck down by the courts. “We hope that the Attorney General will do the right thing for democracy,” said Read.
As much as I’d love to comment on this right now, I’m in the middle of wrapping up a paper on Section 23 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the context of Mahe v. Alberta, so I’ll have to tackle the Greens challenge later this week…