ELECTORAL MAP SUIT TO HEAD TO COURT

The lawsuit contesting Quebec’s provincial electoral map will finally be heard in court.

Cote St. Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Hampstead Mayor Bill Steinberg and Snowdon Councillor Marvin Rotrand announced today that court dates of December 3 and 4 have been set to hear the complaint that the map put in place by the Director General of Elections (DGEQ) is illegal and unfairly reduces the voting influence of Montreal and certain other parts of the province in the National Assembly while significantly over-representing some rural areas.

The three west end politicians announced today that they have launched a campaign to alert their residents that the case will proceed and to encourage them to contribute to the financing of the contestations.

Local representation in the National Assembly has been cut from three to two ridings.

In 2017, the DGEQ, after issuing a report promising not to do so, fused the former Mont Royal and Outremont ridings and vastly changed D’Arcy McGee riding.

The map that was imposed divided ethnic communities, particularly from the Filipino and Jewish communities, reducing their voting weight.

The map saw the populous island of Montreal lose one riding at the same time that the DGEQ chose to maintain the existence of six ridings with less than the legal minimum of electors. The new electoral map also allows several ridings in rural areas which have close to the legal minimum of voters to be kept intact.

The Quebec electoral map thus has many ridings including those in west end Montreal that have nearly 60,000 voters or more each while others in the regions can be found with between 28,000 and 35,000 voters.

This creates a significant imbalance that saps public confidence in the fairness of the electoral process. Indeed, the lawsuit asserts that the DGEQ’s decisions were largely arbitrary and not in the interest of democracy.

“Hampstead residents are keenly aware of their loss of representation,” says Mayor Bill Steinberg. “We need to see this to a final decision. That is why our Council has re-endorsed the contestation and agreed to match dollar for dollar to a maximum of $7000 our residents' donations to this cause. We’re also urging the other partners in this case to emulate our example.”

For his part, Mayor Mitch Brownstein notes that Quebec’s minorities tend to be concentrated on the island of Montreal and that the map reduces the voice of anglophones and other minorities in the National Assembly.

“We’ll alert our residents that the case is active and that they can help by donating to help see the contestation through. Our community is concerned about its reduced ability to be heard in the National Assembly due to the distortions in Quebec's electoral map which go beyond what is allowed in most other provinces." said Mayor Brownstein.

Councillor Rotrand has asked Cote des Neiges - Notre Dame residents to contribute generously to the publicly financed contribution.

"Without the community's support we will be unable to see this case which has constitutional ramifications through to a final court decision," said Councillor Rotrand. "Fairer criteria for the electoral map would see urban areas including Montreal regain influence in the National Assembly. We have to question whether laws such as Bill 21 would ever have been tabled in an assembly that better reflects Quebec's demographic realities."

Residents can mail or drop off their donations in the name of:

Julius Grey In Trust
and mail it to:
Mayor Bill Steinberg
Town of Hampstead
5569 Queen Mary Road
Hampstead (Québec) H3X 1W5

It will take a concerted effort by all to fight the new electoral map. Please make a generous donation to enable us to collectively fight this attack on our voter rights.