The ruling Friday, October 11, 2019 at 7:10 in the evening came four hours after the hearing for a two-part injunction application brought by self-represented Mississauga Centre riding Independent candidate Greg Vezina against the City of Mississauga regarding candidate debates and the removal of his campaign signs.
To be sure, if the City were to organize candidates’ debates… and decide to invite certain candidates to participate, while excluding others… I would not hesitate in granting… injunctive relief.”
— Ontario Superior Court Justice James Stribopoul
Elections Canada, the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commissioner of Canada Elections had refused to clarify an unnecessary 2015 policy change used by debate organizers and the major political parties, their leaders and candidates, and partisans at other levels of government, as in this case, to suppress legitimate candidates and deny the public the right to an informed vote.
After corporate, union and third party donations were prohibited in 2004, the 2008 Elections Canada’s official policy was that debate expenses did not have to be considered as a contribution of a good or service and campaign expense, as does all advertising that promotes or opposes a party, leader or candidate, so long as “all candidates” were invited. In 2015 they changed the official policy to as long as “two or more candidates” were invited.
As a result of this historic decision Vezina says “He and several other Independent candidates are launching an immediate Charter challenge against this change which is used to circumvent the prohibition against corporate, union and third party contributions of debates and their expenses with a value of many thousands of dollars, well above the $1,600 maximum for personal donations”.