- Links to BACKGROUND and preceding email thread (June), see: 2013-06-16 Update Green Party Sask (GPS) vs Govt of Sask: Refund of Election deposits. Law is unconstitutional
- For “Next” developments, click on “Green Party” under the Categories in right-hand sidebar.
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JUNE 17th followed by June 19th UPDATES
Note: My reaction (below) to the information sent by the Attorney General of Sask to lawyer Peter Rosenthal documents the disingenuous nature of the AG’s communication. It is abhorrent to me that this is Saskatchewan’s Justice Dept.
Peter Rosenthal writes:
Mon 17/06/2013 8:23 AM
Sandra, I wrote again to the Minister. This morning I got the attached response.
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The AG says wait for the recommendation of the Chief Electoral Officer.
1. Elections Sask has already recommended to the Govt on April 30th, 2009 that the Elections Act be changed.
If challenged in court, Saskatchewan’s nomination deposit, that is contingent upon the election outcome, would likely be found to violate Charter rights and therefore should be changed. …. “
2. The AG says that Elections Sask will present its recommendations “in the spring”.
The letter does not have a date on it. But the lawyer (Peter) received it today June 17. The spring 2013 sitting is past.
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DETAIL RE: Elections Sask has already recommended to the Legislature that the legislation be changed (2009):
ELECTIONS SASKATCHEWAN RECOMMENDATION TO THE SASK LEGISLATURE, APRIL 30, 2009, RE REFUND OF DEPOSITS
From Elections Saskatchewan, cover letter addressed to Saskatchewan Legislature, Speaker Don Toth, dated April 30, 2009. The enclosed “Report of the Chief Electoral Officer, Volume III, Recommendations for Changes to The Elections Act 1996, Twenth-sixth Provincial General Election, November 7, 2007
Page 34: “2. Handling and Forfeiture of Deposits [Section 47]
Currently a Returning Officer shall return a candidate’s deposit if the candidate is elected or if the candidate obtains at least 50% of the number of valid votes cast in favour of the candidate elected.
In Figuera v. Attorney General of Canada (1999), the judge struck down as contrary to section 3 of The Charter, federal legislation that required a candidate for election to Parliament to pay a $500 deposit that was refundable if the candidate received 15% of the vote.
In October 2007, in De Jong v. Attorney General of Ontario, the Ontario Superior Court struck down a provision in the Election Act which required candidates to forfeit their $200 nomination deposits if they receive less than 10% of the vote. The provision was stuck down on the grounds that it violates the right to vote guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Attorney General of Ontario has not appealed the case.
Currently in Alberta the nomination deposit is $500.00. Half of the nomination deposit is refunded to the candidate’s campaign if the candidate is elected or if they receive at least half as many votes as the winning candidate. The other half of the nomination deposit is refunded if the candidate’s campaign financial statement is filed on time. Elections Alberta has recommended that the portion of the nomination deposit that is contingent upon the election outcome be eliminated. Canada, Northwest Territories and Nunavut return the entire candidate’s deposit if the business manager or candidate submits the candidate’s financial return on time.
If challenged in court, Saskatchewan’s nomination deposit, that is contingent upon the election outcome, would likely be found to violate Charter rights and therefore should be changed. …. ”
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JUNE 19, 2013 UPDATE
———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2013 12:47:29 -0400 (EDT)
From: Peter Rosenthal
To: Minister JU <email@example.com>
Cc: “McGovern, Darcy JU”
Subject: RE: constitutional question for Minister of Justice
Further re below: I have just been informed that your Chief Electoral Officer said in his report of 2009:
If challenged in court, Saskatchewan’s nomination deposit,
that is contingent upon the election outcome, would likely be
found to violate Charter rights and therefore should be changed.
In support of that proposition, the Chief Electoral Officer cited the cases that I referred you to (Figueroa and de Jong) in which I represented applicants who succeeded in striking down corresponding provisions in the Canada and Ontario elections acts. Why are you waiting for another report before acting?
This would strengthen our case for damages if you fail to amend the statute.
Please answer the questions below very soon and please also give me a target date by which you will decide whether or not to amend the statute. My clients are anxious to ensure that the provision is changed before your next election and, given the time that constitutional applications take to be heard, we will have to file an application soon if you do not commit to changing the statute.
On Mon, 17 Jun 2013, Peter Rosenthal wrote:
> I was able to open the attachment; thanks.
> The letter attached is undated; when was it written?
> It states that the Chief Electoral Officer’s Report will be tabled in
> the spring; does that mean within a week from now?
> May I request that you email me me a copy of (or a link to) the Chief
> Electoral Officer’s Report when it is tabled?
> Thanks very much. Sincerely, Peter Rosenthal