Dalhousie Law Journal


Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Supreme Court of Canada, gerrymandering, Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, voting


This article argues for a judicial interpretation of the right to vote under s.3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that places more emphasis upon ihe principle of the equal power of every vote-"one person, one vote"--than maybe suggested by the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Reference re: Electoral Boundaries Commission Act. This becomes an issue of particular importance when a government is suspected of engaging in gerrymandering. Gerrymandering involves enhancing expected electoral support by ensuring that fewer votes will be needed to elect representatives in ridingspredictedto support the government. Any concessions governments may wish to make to the principle of the equality of every vote should be justified in the context of Charter s. 1 or s. 15(2). These sections represent important exceptions to the particular theory of rights that provides the clearest rationale for many of the provisions in the Charter, including the right to vote.