Manitoba

Decision reserved in challenge of PC leadership race that chose Manitoba premier

The legal battle over the leadership race that appointed Manitoba's new premier may get a ruling in as little as a week.

Losing candidate Shelly Glover hopes to see voting results thrown out

Newly designated Premier Heather Stefanson and her leadership rival, Shelly Glover, embrace at the Victoria Inn in Winnipeg on Oct. 30, shortly after the announcement that Stefanson would become the first female premier of Manitoba. (Bartley Kives/CBC)

The legal battle over the leadership race that appointed Manitoba's new premier may get a ruling in as little as a week.

Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice James Edmond reserved his decision Friday afternoon in the case involving the province's governing Progressive Conservative Party and its recent leadership race that saw Premier Heather Stefanson win by a slim margin on Oct. 30.

Losing candidate Shelly Glover, a former member of Parliament, has asked Edmond to throw out the result of that vote.

After hearing submissions throughout the day Friday, Edmond said he plans to try to have a decision ready on Dec. 17.

Everyone involved in the case — Glover, Stefanson and the PC party — had consented to the presence of television cameras in the courtroom.

The full proceedings are available to watch at the bottom of this story.

Glover's lawyer, Dave Hill, cited what he described as irregularities in voting that he claims affected the outcome of the race.

They included tally sheets not signed by everyone at the counting table and a spreadsheet containing a list of voters sent out to both campaigns, which on the day the results were announced had a different total number of voters than the official one announced later.

The party later said the spreadsheet was not official and that both camps knew it was inaccurate.

"Why would you send out a voters list if it's full of inaccuracies? It doesn't make any sense," Hill said in court Friday morning. "That's the biggest irregularity in this whole case."

Hill also said that according to the party's constitution, standards set out in Manitoba's Elections Act should have applied to the leadership race, including rules governing when a returning officer needs to seal a ballot box.

WATCH | Lawyer Dave Hill on irregularities in vote:

Shelly Glover’s lawyer asks Manitoba judge to throw out PC leadership election results

5 months ago
Duration 0:21
Dave Hill, a lawyer representing Shelly Glover in her legal challenge to overturn the results of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba’s leadership race, says there were enough irregularities in the vote tally that the end result should be declared invalid. Glover lost by a slim margin to Premier Heather Stefanson when the results of the race were announced Oct. 30.

He argued the party wasn't able to say how the final vote was tallied or demonstrate the ballots had been protected.

"There's so many numbers floating around here," Hill said, urging Edmond to come to the conclusion that there were so many irregularities surrounding the leadership race that the results must be declared invalid.

Election 'fundamentally fair': PC lawyer

Harley Schachter, who is representing the PC party, said every ballot that made it into a ballot box was approved by scrutineers from both Glover and Stefanson's campaigns.

Both camps had representatives overseeing ballots as they were counted, he said, and there is "no credible evidence there were any invalid ballots at all."

Votes were counted at 18 tables, and each table's totals were written on a tally sheet once the count was complete. Schachter said Glover's lawyers haven't presented any evidence that those tallies were inaccurate.

WATCH | Party lawyer says vote was fair:

Lawyer for Manitoba PCs says party’s election process was ‘fundamentally fair’

5 months ago
Duration 0:23
Harley Schachter, a lawyer representing Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative Party in a legal battle over the results of its leadership race announced on Oct. 30, says the election that saw Heather Stefanson named the province’s new premier was ‘fundamentally fair.’ Losing candidate Shelly Glover is asking a judge to declare the election invalid and throw out the result of that vote.

"The conclusion to be drawn is that the tally sheets are the best evidence as to the numbers of valid ballots to be counted," he said. 

"The election was fundamentally fair, Ms. Stefanson won, and there is no basis in law or in fact to challenge or upset that result."

Schachter said the spreadsheet sent out to the campaigns was a list of who was entitled to vote, not who had cast a ballot.

He said that list was sent out as a courtesy every night to help candidates get out the vote, so it wouldn't have been useful after voting ended.

As well, Schachter added, Manitoba's Elections Act applies to the election of members of the legislative assembly, not party leaders, making it irrelevant in the case of the leadership race.

That argument was echoed by Jonathan Kroft, who is representing Stefanson in the case.

WATCH | Lawyer for Manitoba premier addresses court:

Heather Stefanson’s lawyer says Shelly Glover is asking court to rewrite party rules

5 months ago
Duration 0:21
Jonathan Kroft, a lawyer representing Heather Stefanson in a legal battle over the results of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba’s leadership race that saw her named premier, says Stefanson’s former opponent is trying to ask the court to rewrite the rules of the election after it ended. Stefanson won the race by a narrow margin when the results were announced on Oct. 30. She beat opponent Shelly Glover, who is now asking a judge to declare the results invalid.

"What is really happening is that [Glover] is cherry-picking certain provisions of the Elections Act and arguing they are relevant," Kroft said Friday afternoon.

He said Glover's scrutineers had agreed to the rules set out for the leadership race, and that they had the opportunity to escalate any concerns they had to the party, but didn't do that until the results were announced.

"It's one thing to ask the court to enforce the rules," Kroft said. 

"It's quite another thing to ask the court to rewrite those rules after the election's already over. And I'm submitting that there's quite a bit of the latter and not very much of the former involved in this application."

He said it's up to Glover to prove that invalid ballots or counting errors were involved in the leadership race, and that they affected the result — which she hasn't done.

WATCH | Shelly Glover court challenge:

Glover court challenge: Part 1

5 months ago
Duration 59:52
A court hearing was held in Winnipeg on Friday regarding former Progressive Conservative Party leadership candidate Shelly Glover's request that a judge to throw out the party's decision to name Heather Stefanson its leader. This is the first hour of the hearing, which will be posted in its entirety.

Glover court challenge: Part 2

5 months ago
Duration 58:24
A court hearing was held in Winnipeg on Friday regarding former Progressive Conservative Party leadership candidate Shelly Glover's request that a judge to throw out the party's decision to name Heather Stefanson its leader. This is the second hour of the hearing, which will be posted in its entirety.

Glover court challenge: Part 3

5 months ago
Duration 32:53
A court hearing was held in Winnipeg on Friday regarding former Progressive Conservative Party leadership candidate Shelly Glover's request that a judge to throw out the party's decision to name Heather Stefanson its leader. This is the third hour of the hearing, which will be posted in its entirety.

Glover court challenge: Part 4

5 months ago
Duration 59:23
A court hearing was held in Winnipeg on Friday regarding former Progressive Conservative Party leadership candidate Shelly Glover's request that a judge to throw out the party's decision to name Heather Stefanson its leader. This is the fourth hour of the hearing, which will be posted in its entirety.

Glover court challenge: Part 5

5 months ago
Duration 35:50
A court hearing was held in Winnipeg on Friday regarding former Progressive Conservative Party leadership candidate Shelly Glover's request that a judge to throw out the party's decision to name Heather Stefanson its leader. This is the fifth hour of the hearing, which will be posted in its entirety.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now