Judge Reserves Decision In Recount Application

Friday, February 03, 2006 at 15:43



We will find out Monday morning whether an application for a judicial recount in the federal riding of Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River is successful.


A Court of Queen’s Bench justice heard just under two hours of arguments today in Prince Albert over whether the recount should proceed.


The application was made by supporters of defeated incumbent MP Jeremy Harrison of the Conservatives, who lost the January 23rd election in the northern riding by 73 votes to the Liberals’ Gary Merasty.


Today, Madame Justice Alison Rothery indicated she would provide her decision to lawyers from both sides on Monday morning.


If a recount is granted, it will take place as early as Wednesday in either La Ronge or Prince Albert — and it will be supervised by a judge.


One of Harrison’s lawyers argued today the recount should be granted because the number of spoiled ballots exceeded the margin of victory.


However, a lawyer representing Elections Canada told the court that while that set of circumstances can trigger a recount in a provincial election, it isn’t one of the criteria used to decide the merit of a recount in a federal election.


Elections Canada declared Merasty the winner about a week ago after validating results from election night, but his lawyer, Tiffany Paulsen, informed the court that he wasn’t being allowed to set up an office or a phone until this issue was resolved.


Harrison has alleged the election was tainted with a number of irregularities in polling stations across the riding. His lawyer raised some of those allegations in court today, but Rothery informed him they wouldn’t have a bearing on her decision.