Top court rejects group’s attempt to stop B.C. referendum as campaign underway

B.C. Appeal Court Justice Gregory Fitch says there was no merit to the association’s argument that disputed the lower court’s ruling

British Columbia’s top court has dismissed an application by a group trying to halt the province’s referendum on electoral reform.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association asked for leave to appeal a lower-court decision that in August denied an interim injunction after allegations the B.C. government undertook a rushed process for fundamental changes to the democratic system.

B.C. Appeal Court Justice Gregory Fitch says there was no merit to the association’s argument that disputed the lower court’s ruling.

READ MORE: B.C. split on favoured voting system, 1/3 still not sure: poll

The lobby group representing over 2,000 companies wanted a suspension of a cabinet order-in-council on the referendum and an order prohibiting the counting of ballots while it challenges the referendum process in court.

Fitch disagreed that the lower court erred in not recognizing that the association’s claims of irreparable harm would result from a limit on third-party advertising during the referendum and that public confidence in the democratic process would be eroded.

The voting period on whether to switch to a proportional representation system from first-past-the-post began Oct. 22 and ends on Nov. 30.

The Canadian Press

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