Mayors pondering legal challenge to electoral map changes
Published Thursday, March 16, 2017 8:42PM EDT
West end mayors and city councillors say they are willing to take legal action against Elections Quebec to maintain the current electoral map.
Following months of consultations, Elections Quebec issued a new map for ridings throughout the province on March 2, but that map contained a number of changes that had been rejected early in the consultation process.
In particular, the provincial agency decided to merge the ridings of Mount Royal and Outremont, and to change the boundaries for the ridings of Notre Dame de Grace and D'Arcy McGee.
Councillor Marvin Rotrand said the new ridings will have many more voters than the provincial average.
"We have 57,000 while somebody else has 20,000," said Rotrand.
"There are a lot of legal ridings that are illegal on the island of Montreal and elsewhere, a lot of ridings with 55,000 to 60,000 voters."
Quebec law allows a wide range of the number of voters in each riding, but even then, six ridings have fewer voters than allowed.
Multiple boroughs, and the city of Montreal, are in the process of adopting motions condemning what Elections Quebec has done.
There is also the chance of filing a lawsuit against Elections Quebec, although CDN-NDG borough mayor Russell Copeman is reluctant to do so.
"It's one set of taxpayers funding potentially a challenge against another set of taxpayers, you know the government of Quebec and its electoral commission. As I'm often reminded, the money comes from the same pocket," said Copeman.
However, Rotrand said legal grounds for a challenge were written by the dean of Law at Université de Montreal.
"He actually wrote this in September when the original proposals were in front of the National Assembly. He said the electoral map is contestable. There are 12 major reasons and a couple constitutional reasons as well," said Rotrand.
The councillors and mayors will hold a public meeting on March 26 to hear from citizens and determine how much support they have.