Nunavut court rules against Madeleine Redfern in QIA election review

Nunavut Court of Justice rules that it was reasonable for the Qikiqtani Inuit Association to not provide community director ballots at Ottawa polls during its December 2014 election.

Almost 4 years after losing by 1 vote, Iqaluit mayor finally gets an answer

Madeleine Redfern had accused the QIA of not following election rules after it failed to issue community director ballots at Ottawa polls. (Kieran Oudshoorn/CBC)

Almost four years after Madeleine Redfern lost a 2014 Qikitani Inuit Association election, she finally has an answer.

Redern, who is currently the mayor of Iqaluit, had asked the Nunuvut Court of Justice for a judicial review of the December 2014 election, shortly after she lost the Iqaluit community director position by one vote.

In a news release at the time, Redfern accused the QIA of not following its election rules.

She expressed concern that Nunavut residents who voted at one of two polling stations in Ottawa couldn't cast a ballot for the Iqaluit community director. They were told that they would have to give their proxy to a voter physically present in Iqaluit.

Redfern wanted the court to order the QIA to operate polling stations in the national capital identically to those in the Qikiqtani region and to declare that the association had breached procedural fairness.

But in a decision released Wednesday, Justice Susan Cooper ruled that the absence of  ballots was a reasonable option. She considered the Chief Returning Officer's argument that it would have been impossible to determine how many voters from each community would be in Ottawa on election day.

Cooper also declined to make an order regarding the operation of the polling stations. She noted the Chief Returning Officer is not required to operate polls in Ottawa and said it's "questionable" whether the court even has the jurisdiction to make such an order.

"The goal of elections is to enfranchise people to the fullest extent possible while maintaining the integrity of the electoral process," she wrote. "An order in the nature of that sought by the applicant might well have the opposite effect, in that a decision may be made that no polling stations will be provided outside of the Qikiqtani Region."

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