(Quebec) A law professor enters litigation to invalidate a section of the Quebec Elections Act that caused him to lose his postal voting rights in 2019 because he resided outside of Quebec for more than two years while attending college.
Posted at 7:00 am
“It’s about the principle,” says Bruno Gélinas-Faucher, professor at the law faculty of the Université de Moncton, who no longer wants to put anyone in this situation.
Supported byM.e Julien Morissette, of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, Mr. Gélinas-Faucher wants Section 282 of the Quebec Elections Act to be declared unconstitutional.
This article allows any voter who is temporarily leaving Quebec to vote by mail, but they must not have been out of Quebec for more than two years on election day or they will lose that privilege.
The citizen could always buy a plane ticket to come and vote, but actually Me Morissette and Gélinas-Faucher argue that by removing postal voting from non-Quebec voters, Quebec deprives them of “the real opportunity to vote in Quebec elections.”
This article “violates the right to vote of these voters in a way that cannot be justified within the framework of a free and democratic society, all in contravention of the Charters of Rights and Freedoms of Canada and Quebec”.
Mr Gélinas-Faucher denounced the absurdity of the current law, which prevented him from exercising his right to vote while he was pursuing a PhD in international law from Cambridge University. However, postal voting has been set up for students, he emphasizes.
I hope people will see the absurdity. For a doctorate it is at least four years.
Bruno Gélinas-Faucher, Professor at the Law School of the Université de Moncton
It builds on a 2019 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that overturned a similar section of Canada’s electoral law that set a five-year deadline for postal votes outside the country.
The professor hopes the Quebec government will listen to reason and change its own law, but he is poised for a “long and tedious” legal battle. He estimates that several thousand people are affected by this injustice and cannot vote by mail.
The Osler law firm assesses the meritorious cause and works on the file free of charge.
” [Il est] important to promote democratic participation and promote the right to vote,” explained Fraue morissette