This paper discusses Colin Feasby’s paper “Freedom of Expression and the Democratic Process” on the Harper decision and recognizes his previous scholarship on this topic as making a significant and valuable contribution to our understanding of judicial review of the democratic process. Bredt and Pottie recognize that the egalitarian model cannot fully address the variety of participants and resources at play. They believe that judicial deference is unwarranted and indeed hazardous in this context. Experience has shown that a high level of third party campaign spending does not trigger the hypothetical evils associated with independent expenditures, nor is it outcome determinative. On the other hand, there is a clear need to keep Parliament’s tendency towards self-interested regulation in check, particularly when that tendency is actualized in the form of restrictions to participation in democratic processes. This need is most acute in the context of electoral regulation. an election is the point at which the voter is most in need of information from all sources, and thus this is the most important time for political participation by all, including third parties. Government measures that restrict that participation should, in their view,be strictly scrutinized.
Bredt, Christopher D. and Pottie, Laura.
"Liberty, Equality and Deference: A Comment On Colin Feasby’s “Freedom of Expression and the Law of the Democratic Process”."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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