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BCCLA reacts to BC Court of Appeal decision on voter ID laws

Vancouver – The BCCLA reacted today to the BC Court of Appeal’s decision upholding voter ID laws in the case of Henry v. Canada (Attorney General). The BCCLA was an intervener in this case.

Changes to federal voting laws require voters to show government-approved ID when voting, or to be vouched for by a voter in the same polling division. From the outset, the BCCLA opposed these changes. The BCCLA argued that the government had not shown that the voter ID laws are necessary, especially in light of the very serious and real risk that some citizens without ID, particularly in marginalized communities, may be denied the right to vote altogether.

The BC Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the BC Supreme Court finding that the changes to the law were a justifiable infringement of the right to vote protected in section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Raji Mangat, Counsel for the BCCLA, stated: “The right to vote lies at the core of our democracy. It is a sad day for all Canadians when the attempt to remedy a minimal problem results in disenfranchisement of our most vulnerable and marginalized citizens. There was no need for this change in the law. As a society, we should be encouraging more political participation, not making it harder to vote.”

The BCCLA is represented by Dan Burnett, Q.C., of Owen Bird LLP and Mathew Good of Hordo, Bennett, Mounteer LLP.