Tariq Khan will bring an interim injunction to the Superior Court of Québec this Friday, May 30 regarding Elections SSMU’s invalidation of his presidential win and the Judicial Board (J-Board) ruling that the invalidation would be upheld. On May 27, Khan announced that he was planning to take legal action to contest the invalidation.
Khan stated that he has now filed a case with the Superior Court, seeking for the court to grant a safeguard order that would reinstate him as the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) President until a full hearing occurs.
The defendants in the case, according to Khan’s lawyer, François Longpré of Borden Ladner Gervais, include SSMU; Ben Fung, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Elections SSMU; David Koots, the Deputy Electoral Officer (DEO); and members of the J-Board. Courtney Ayukawa, who is currently the SSMU president-elect, will be a third party in this case.
Longpré also stated that a full hearing regarding the case would address SSMU’s procedural methods.
“The petition alleges breaches of rules of natural justice in the adjudication process at Elections SSMU and the Judicial Board,” Longpré said.
Khan claimed that Elections SSMU had not followed correct procedure in investigating his campaign. He highlighted Elections SSMU’s public censure of his campaign and its decision to redact certain witness testimony it used as evidence during the investigation of his campaign.
“In law—in any procedure—if there is a procedural violation, then the decision becomes void and the decision is overturned,” Khan said. “Elections SSMU has been hiding information from me and not giving me a fair chance to defend myself [….] I was not consulted about [the decision to publicly censure my campaign]. I was not allowed to see the evidence that had been used against me.”
Following the Apr. 29 J-Board hearing, Chief Justice Bennet Misskey explained that the ability to redact certain pieces of evidence is necessary to protect sources who wish to remain anonymous.
“The CEO relies on the use of informants in the process of gathering and evaluating evidence of bylaw infractions,” he said. “Oftentimes, these informants will only come forward if they can be assured that their identity will be protected. The evidence that was redacted in the case of the Khan hearing […] was evidence that would put the informants’ identity at risk.”
Khan has stated that he is planning to overhaul the management of SSMU if his request for a safeguard is granted by the Superior Court.
“If we do win the case, it would raise some serious questions about the internal procedures of SSMU,” Khan said. “I claim to be a student leader, [and the title] comes with great steps and bold actions.”
Khan plans to finance the case using his own funds as well as donations from others.
“I sold everything I could—all my savings I’m putting towards [this case],” he said. “At the same time, those that have supported me have [also] contributed.”
According to Khan, an expedited hearing could take three to five months. Ayukawa is set to take the presidential position on Jun. 1.
Misskey, Fung, and Pauline Gervais, the General Manager of SSMU, declined to comment on the court case.