Electoral boundaries 'a messy situation': law professor says - NEWS 95.7
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Electoral boundaries 'a messy situation': law professor says

Last Updated Apr 7, 2017 at 7:02 pm ADT

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil delivers his annual update as he addresses a business luncheon, in Halifax on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Calling an election without sorting the electoral boundaries issue could be a risky prospect for the Liberal Government. That is according to a Dalhousie University law professor.

Questions of constitutional viability have ramped up since an appeals court ruling in January found the process leading to the change in electoral boundaries was not constitutional.

Premier McNeil maintains the government is within its rights to call an election, and all indications point to that happening soon.

“You might question whether even the current election was completely constitutionally appropriate as far as the boundaries,” said law professor Wayne Mackay about the last election.

“I don’t know of any precedent but I think it’s a bit of a messy situation,” he added.

The Acadian Federation is the most recent group to challenge the government to redraw the electoral map to better represent minorities.

According to Mackay the risk is real for the liberal government that they could be challenged in court if the writ is dropped. He recommended the Liberals ask the court of appeals to rule on the boundaries themselves.

“To rule specifically on the question of whether those boundaries as currently drawn are constitutionally sound,” he said.

“If they did that then of course the election can proceed on pretty solid ground but if they do not do that and proceed with the election then it seems to me it does  open it up to potential challenge to many different quarters.”

The ruling in January technically did not look at the boundaries, but rather found the process which led to their creation was unconstitutional.

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