Monday, December 26, 2005

Michael Ignatieff disqualified to run in Canada's election?

Recently, I have taken a few crash courses in Canadian election law. The result is a realization that Michael Ignatieff may not be eligible to run for the seat in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Here is why:

The Canada Elections Act stipulates that candidates must be eligible electors. In order to be an eligible elector in a riding, you must be "ordinarily resident" in that riding. To my knowledge, Ignatieff disqualifies as an elector, and thereby as candidate, in Etobicoke-Lakeshore for the following reasons:
  1. Ignatieff has no known connections (dwellings, residences, etc.) in that riding. He has not lived there before.
  2. Ignatieff does not intend to stay in that riding if he loses the race. That is, he has indicated that he would return to Harvard if he lost the election. In order to qualify as being "ordinarily resident" one has to fulfill this demand as stipulated in the Act: "The place of ordinary residence of a person is the place that has always been, or that has been adopted as, his or her dwelling place, and to which the person intends to return when away from it." Thus, the only concievable way that Ignatieff can be considered ordinarily resident is if he bought some property and intended on residing in that riding. But since his comments in the Harvard Crimson do not show he intends to permanently adopt it, or return to it "when away from it", Ignatieff has disqualified himself from being an elector in that riding.
To help pound home the point of this information, Elections Canada will not usually grant students a vote in the riding he or she goes to school in. That is, even if a student spends 8 months of the year in Calgary at school, he is not eligible to vote there if he intends to go back home after school. Likewise, if Ignatieff intends to return home at the end of January, then he would not normally be considered an elector in the riding he is a candidate in.

But this is purely my opinion. There be facts of which I am unaware.

10 comments:

Jason said...

I'm working on an election campaign in my riding and many people ask us what the rules are regarding students so we've had to find out. Students can vote in either the riding in which they're living to go to school or their home riding. It's completely up to them. There is no minimum time requirement.
Also remember that tenants don't usually own any property; however, they still have the right to vote as do homeless people. You simply need a place that you're living at the time of the vote (or registration) to prove that you're in the riding in question. That doesn't mean you're stuck there after the election - you can move. You'd still intend to return to the residence before you did so. I'm sure Ignatieff has a residence, even if temporary, in Toronto. Candidates have to fill out a form which establishes their elector status (proof of identity, address, etc.).
Provincial elections, however, are governed by other election laws and may be slightly different from the federal laws (they are in Ontario).

Anonymous said...

Also, you don't have to live in a riding to run as a candidate there. You just have to be an eligible voter ("qualified elector") somewhere.

Anonymous said...

The following is from Election Canada website - which states you do not need to live in the riding you are riding in.

Eligibility

Any Canadian citizen who is at least 18 years of age on election day – called "polling day" in the Act – may be a candidate, unless specifically disqualified under the Act. A candidate need not reside in or be registered on the list of electors for the electoral district in which he or she seeks election. A candidate can be a candidate in only one electoral district during any election.
[65]

Anonymous said...

The above post is right - all you need is the proper amount of signatures from qualified electors.
(check section 71)

Anonymous said...

Although it is correct you do not need to be a resident of the riding to run you do have to be able to vote. Just spoke to Election Canada and the Nomination Papers must state a Permanent Residental Address for the candidate. A person must have a permanent residental address in Canada to quality to vote - one must quality to vote to run. I have require that the Liberal party provide me with Ignatieff permanent address as stated on his nomination paper - public has a right to this info.

Jonathan said...

Thank you for all your comments.

I stand corrected on this issue, as I read into the Canada Elections Act to what was not there.

But I still think the question of "ordinarily resident" needs to be addressed. Especially if he does not intend to reside there.

As for the last anonymous commenter...do you happen to work in the riding office of Ignatieff's riding?

Anonymous said...

No I am not part of of Ignatieff riding - in fact, I am working hard to get rid of these liberal bums.

I have spoken to Election Canada twice today since reading your message and posted 3 quotes from the act for your information.

Mr. Ignatieff office has emailed me 3 times today and refuse to provide his permanent resident address even thou they agree this is public information. However, any public person can contact the Electorial Officer for his riding and review his Nomination Paper which must state what his permanent resident address is.

Gary McHale
Richmond Hill, Ontario

Anonymous said...

Next time you call Ignatieff's office, ask where he paid his taxes for the last 30 years. That should tell you pretty much where he was or is resident.

Anonymous said...

ORDINARY RESIDENCE IS A MINEFIELD OF LEGISLATION BEGINNINING IN THE NAPOLEONIC WARS, iF THE CANDIDATE SAYS IT IS HIS INTENTION TO RESIDE IN AN AREA THEN HE IS INDEED ORD RES IN THAT AREA, THERE HAVE BEEN UK CASES WHERE AN INTENT TO BE BURIED ELSEWHERE ALTHOUGH NOW DEAD IS ENOUGH TO PROVE YOU ARE NOT ORD RES IN THE AREA YOU MAY HAVE LIVED IN FOR ALL OF YOUR LIFE.
IT IS AN UNDEFINED PHRASE ORD RES AND REQUIRES THE COURTS TO DECIDE THE OUTCOME.

Anonymous said...

If Ignatieff is disqualified, so are countless others: Jack Layton, Brian Mulroney, Preston Manning, Mackenzie King and Sir John A. MacDonald.

Here's a pretty good article on the topic.