CCF will argue constitutionality of First Past The Post System as an intervenor in new case

CCF will argue constitutionality of First Past The Post System as an intervenor in new case

TORONTO: The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) has been granted intervenor status in a case heading to Ontario Superior Court this fall by a group of organizations challenging the constitutionality of the first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system. The case is Fair Voting and Springtide v Attorney General of Canada, and the CCF will be arguing that the FPTP system is constitutional.

“This challenge is being brought by advocacy groups attempting to use the courts to achieve what the legislature has declined to do,” said CCF Litigation Director Christine Van Geyn. “There is nothing in either the Charter or the Constitution Act, 1867, that suggests either directly or indirectly that the first-past-the-post system is unconstitutional. The voting right provisions of the Charter are neutral as to form for voting, and a system of constituency-based representation and a House of Commons is referred to in multiple sections of the Constitution Act, 1867. This is the voting system Canada has had since confederation, and it is absurd to suggest it is now somehow now unconstitutional.”

The CCF will be making arguments about the principles of interpretive harmony, and that the FPTP system remains constitutional, as it has been since confederation, absent any clear intent to the contrary. 

The CCF is represented in this case by Asher Honickman and Kristopher Kinsinger of Jordan Honickman Barristers. The hearing is scheduled for September 2023.

“The Charter was not intended to upend all – or even most – of what came before it, but rather reaffirmed the core tenets of Canada’s original constitutional settlement,” said Kristopher Kinsinger. “Our interpretation of the Charter must therefore be rigorously guided by the words of the Constitution in light of their historical context and larger objects and purposes. There is no question that first-past-the-post was constitutional as of the adoption of the Charter, and remains so for the simple reason that there is nothing in the constitutional text that says (or even suggests) otherwise.”

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