Oct 25, 2012

By Bob Komsic

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A divided Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Conservative MP Ted Opitz legitimately won his seat in the Toronto riding of Etobicoke Centre in the May 2011 federal election.

By a 4-3 margin, the high court has allowed Opitz’s appeal and affirmed his 26-vote victory.

Opitz was appealing an Ontario Superior Court ruling that set aside his victory over Liberal incumbent Borys Wrzesnewskyj after identifying procedural irregularities with 79 ballots.

The Supreme Court has overturned the lower court ruling because it said 59 of those rejected votes should have been allowed to stand.

Three justices, including Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, disagreed, saying Ontario Superior Court Justice Thomas Lederer made ”no palpable and overriding error” when he initially rejected 79 votes.

The decision marks the first time the Supreme Court has ruled on the validity of an election result in a federal riding in the modern era under the current Canada Elections Act.

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