It was a packed room as they say, although it was also a particularly small room. But Wrzesnewskyj said it was important to him that the meeting be held at the St. Demetrius Seniors Residence, because it was here during the election that many seniors lost their right to vote. According to affidavits filed by Elections Canada officials that worked the poll that day, a Conservative representative disrupted the voting and "suddenly started screaming and waving his arms wildly ... He was raging in a bullying fashion, which caused confusion, and frightened many voters."
Wrzesnewskyj spoke passionately and at length about the importance of making sure everyone has the right and opportunity to vote, and how that’s a right that shouldn’t be denied. It’s clear he intends to make faith in the democratic process a key campaign theme, referencing incidents not just in Etobicoke-Centre but across the country. When he knocks on doors, he says it’s all people want to talk about.
I spoke with him after the meeting for a quick video interview, where he expanded on these issues. Here’s a key quote:
“This election is about fixing the system, and hopefully fixing it before the next federal election. Because this cannot happen again in Canada.”
The passion and emotion Wrzesnewskyj has for this (he has funded the appeals process himself) as a matter of principle is clear, and it was definitely shared by the seniors that packed the room. I do hope that once on the trail he’ll broaden the message to also speak to other policy issues, and I’m sure he will. It’s sure to be a hard-fought race, possibly as tight as the 26-vote margin we saw in 2011.
In the interim, all eyes are on the Supreme Court to see if they’ll take the case and, if so, when.