Group takes legal action against Mont-Royal-Outremont riding merger

Click to play video: 'Five Montreal communiites are taking the Electoral Commission to court to protect the ridings of Mount Royal and Outremont'
Five Montreal communiites are taking the Electoral Commission to court to protect the ridings of Mount Royal and Outremont
A group of six Montrealers have enlisted constitutional lawyer Julius Grey to fight a decision by Quebec’s Electoral Commission to merge the ridings of Mount Royal and Outremont. Gloria Henriquez reports – May 18, 2017

A group of citizens is taking the fight against the merger of the ridings of Mont-Royal and Outremont to the next level.

The group is now suing the Director General of the Quebec Elections Commission and the commission itself over the merger.

The group includes former Liberal MP Marlene Jennings, Côte-des-Neiges Notre-Dame-de-Grâce councillor Marvin Rotrand and The Suburban editor Beryl Wajsman.

READ MORE: Quebec minister says she doesn’t like new riding boundaries

They have the support of mayors of the five cities affected: Town of Mount-Royal, Côte Saint-Luc, Côte-des-Neiges Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Outremont and Hampstead.

They argue their residents’ votes will be diluted with the change.

“This is a fundamental injustice and it really must be fought. It will have very significant implications for us in the future,” Hampstead mayor Bill Steinberg said.

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READ MORE: Electoral map reform worries Montreal borough and municipality mayors

Prominent constitutional lawyer Julius Grey believes they have a case.

Grey says the lawsuit is based on the issue of fair representation.

“We think the result is unreasonable given the nature of Montreal’s population, the communities that are affected [by]  the political disenfranchisement that follows by this decision,” Grey said.

The group has gathered about $26,000 to finance the legal fight.

Contributions came from affected cities and their residents.

READ MORE: Montrealers come out to oppose Mont-Royal-Outremont riding merger

“Every day in the mail cheques are coming in, and we’re calling on the public to help us,” Rotrand said.

Global News reached out to Quebec’s electoral commission, but officials declined an interview.

Both parties will meet June 19 to fix a hearing date.

The group hopes a ruling will come through before the next provincial election in fall 2018.

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