Elections Canada to consider moving federal election date due to Jewish holiday

Jul 24 2019, 5:19 pm

The Federal Court of Canada has ordered the country’s chief electoral officer, Stéphane Perreault, to consider moving this year’s federal election because it conflicts with a Jewish holiday.

According to the Canada Federal Elections Act, “each general election must be held on the third Monday of October in the fourth calendar year.”

This year’s election is currently scheduled for October 21, but that was challenged in court by Chani Aryeh Bain, a Conservative Orthodox Jewish candidate for the Eglinton-Lawrence riding near Toronto and Ira Walfish, a Toronto resident.

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Bain and Walfish argued that the date of this year’s election should be changed because it overlaps with the Jewish holiday of  Shemini Atzeret, which prohibits voting and campaigning for observant Jews on that day.

In a decision made by Justice Ann Marie MacDonald on Tuesday determined that there was “a lack of evidence on the record to demonstrate that the chief electoral officer undertook the requisite proportionate balancing of the Charter infringements.”

She ordered Perreault to “reconsider his decision not to recommend moving the election date.”

Perreault says Elections Canada will “act in a timely manner” to address the issue.

“I will make my public final decision as soon as possible,” he said in a statement.