Liberals Want to Change Election Date

Nikita Pradhan
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The Liberal government’s rationale for proposing a delay of the 2025 election to avoid Diwali doesn’t sit well with Jewish Canadians.

Back in 2019, when Jewish Canadians sought government accommodation to prevent election overlap with a Jewish holiday, their concerns were dismissed.

The Liberals introduced a bill to amend the Elections Act, pushing the scheduled 2025 election from Oct. 20 to Oct. 27. Critics have highlighted that this delay conveniently makes numerous MPs eligible for pensions. However, Democratic Institutions Minister Dominic LeBlanc insists it’s solely to prevent overlap with Diwali, the Hindu festival of light.

While LeBlanc claims the bill aims to bolster Canada’s democracy, the rescheduling evoked memories of a similar plea by Chani Aryeh-Bain five years prior.

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Past Appeals Ignored

Aryeh-Bain, an orthodox Jewish woman contesting in the Eglinton−Lawrence riding with a sizable Jewish population, had sought to change the Oct. 21 election date in 2019 to avoid conflict with the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, falling between Oct. 20 and Oct. 22.

Eglinton−Lawrence, with about 5,000 Orthodox Jewish voters in 2019, had witnessed close federal election outcomes in the past, with margins of 2,000 to 4,000 votes.

Aryeh-Bain pursued her case in Federal Court, urging reconsideration by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. However, the election date remained unchanged.

In an interview with True North Wire, Aryeh-Bain highlighted what she perceived as a “double standard.”

She questioned why the government wouldn’t adhere to its decision regarding Shemini Atzeret while accommodating Diwali observers, who have options for advanced polling, daily voting at returning offices, or mail-in ballots.

Moreover, conflicts arose during the 2019 advanced polling days of Oct. 12 and Oct. 14, coinciding with the sabbath and the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, respectively.

Aryeh-Bain underscored the disparity, emphasizing the government’s obligation to uphold fairness and respect religious and democratic rights.

Citing the 2019 Elections Canada ruling, which acknowledged the impossibility of a “perfect election day” in Canada’s diverse landscape, Aryeh-Bain argued against selective observance of religious holidays by the government.

She speculated that the 2025 delay might prioritize pension eligibility over religious accommodation.

Aryeh-Bain suggested that moving the election forward by one week ensures pension qualification for at least 80 MPs, amid concerns of losing re-election and pension benefits.

With all MPs entitled to pensions after six years of service, those elected on Oct. 21, 2019, would meet the threshold only if the 2025 election occurs after that date.

Last Updated on by Nikita Pradhan

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