Media Release, Friday, March 5, 2004
Why did the Chief Electoral Officer create the Conservative Party of Canada on a Sunday?
There will be a motion in Federal Court in Toronto on Monday, March 8th asking the court to order the Chief Electoral Officer to provide more information from his files concerning the creation of the Conservative Party of Canada.
The Chief Electoral Officer registered the Conservative Party of Canada as a result of a purported merger between the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance on Sunday, December 7th, 2003. One consequence of the registration was to eliminate the Progressive Conservative Party.
The Honourable Sinclair Stevens, on behalf of a number of "PC Party loyalists," has launched an application to judicially review the Chief Electoral Officer's decision to register the new Conservative Party. The Notice of Application alleges that there was no proper "merger resolution" as required by the Canada Elections Act. It further alleges that registering the merger on the day after the vote by the Progressive Conservative Party denied natural justice to those who wished to make representations to the Chief Electoral Officer that he should not accept the purported merger. The Notice of Application also alleges that PC Party leader Peter MacKay usurped the role of the Management Committee of the PC Party in selecting the PC Party members to sit on the interim joint council of the new Conservative Party. The Notice of Application further alleges that the Conservative Party of Canada did not have any structure whatsoever at the time that the Chief Electoral Officer registered it as a political party.
As part of the application for Judicial Review, the applicant requested that the Chief Electoral Officer provide all notes, memoranda, correspondence, emails, voice mails and any other documents concerning the Conservative Party of Canada that he had in his possession. The Chief Electoral Officer provided some such documents but withheld others on the ground that they were irrelevant to the Chief Electoral Officer's decision.
The documents that were provided show that the initial presentation to the Chief Electoral Officer concerned the creation of a new party, not a merger. To date no explanation has been given for the changed wording or of how it was arranged that the Chief Electoral Officer received the merger application on a Sunday. There remain many other mysteries concerning the discussions between the Chief Electoral Officer and those who were pushing the merger. The applicant submits that further information from the Chief Electoral Officer's files is required in order to properly adjudicate the application for Judicial Review.
The motion for an order that the Chief Electoral Officer be required to produce all the documents will be argued in the Federal Court in Toronto on Monday, March 8th, 2004 beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Court Hearing: 9:30 a.m., March 8, 2004
Federal Court, 8th Floor
Canada Life Building
330 University Avenue, Toronto
For more information, the Honourable Sinclair Stevens and his counsel Peter Rosenthal will be available on the weekend at (905) 382-2504 and (416) 924-2257 respectively.