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Recap: student politician pursues Superior Court case

April Fools Day election invalidation no laughing matter for Tariq Khan

McGill undergraduates found themselves perplexed on April 1 as they received an email announcing the invalidation of the election of Tariq Khan as Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) president. This decision, rendered by Elections SSMU, appointed runner-up Courtney Ayukawa as president.

Before the invalidation, Elections SSMU had publicly censured Khan once during his presidential campaign for having “explicitly asked a non-campaign committee member to send unsolicited text messages to members of the public.” The public censure was announced on March 21, the last day of the campaign period and also the day of Khan’s election as SSMU president by a margin of only 78 votes.

The bylaw infractions that caused his invalidation, Elections SSMU claimed, included the participation of “individuals external to SSMU in his campaign,” the sending of “unsolicited messages regarding his campaign,” “inconsistencies with campaign expenditures,” as well as the “impingement of the spirit of a fair campaign and of the voting process.”
Khan’s invalidation led to the retraction of a then-ongoing SSMU Judicial Board case against Elections SSMU alleging improper handling of Khan’s campaign team’s bylaw infractions, the details of which were leaked to The Daily in early April.

Following his invalidation, Khan appealed to the Judicial Board. However, the Judicial Board unanimously upheld the invalidation on April 29, and the decision was ratified by SSMU’s Board of Directors on April 30.

A month later, Khan informed The Daily of his decision to file a case to the Superior Court of Quebec against Elections SSMU to contest the invalidation of his presidential election. He charged Elections SSMU with violating his basic human rights throughout the process of his invalidation, such as his right to a presumption of innocence and his right to cross-examine witnesses.

On May 29, Khan filed a request to the Court for a preliminary injunction to reinstate him as SSMU president until the case was heard in its entirety. The Superior Court dismissed the application in a decision rendered on June 3 on the basis that a provisional injunction would cause undue inconvenience and inflict additional costs on SSMU.

The full hearing of Khan’s case will be taking place this fall.