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Tory MP appeals ruling that sets stage for Toronto by-election

A Toronto-area Harper government MP says he'll fight a court ruling that threw out his narrow election victory rather than leaving the matter for voters to decide.

Etobicoke Centre's Ted Opitz announced Monday he will appeal to the Supreme Court after an Ontario judge found too many voters in his riding were improperly registered when they cast a ballot.

Monday was the deadline for Mr. Opitz to appeal the ruling, which would otherwise have set the stage for a by-election in a riding the Conservatives only won by 26 votes.

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Mr. Opitz said he feels the results of the May 2, 2011 ballot should stand.

"Fifty-two thousand people in Etobicoke Centre followed the rules and cast their ballots," he said. "Their democratic choice has been called into question by the decision relating to 0.15% of those ballots."

In a rare decision two weeks ago, an Ontario Superior Court judge threw out the results of the 2011 general election in Etobicoke Centre after he found that officials failed to ensure 79 voters were properly registered or cleared to cast a ballot.

The Ontario ruling was a victory for former Etobicoke-Centre Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, who had mounted a legal challenge of the race he'd lost by a narrow margin.

"It is in the public interest that election results be respected and that voters not be disenfranchised," Mr. Opitz said.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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