Letter to the Federal Government of Canada #2

Letter to the Federal Government of Canada regarding an alleged order prohibiting the extension of Toronto’s polling station hours past 8 p.m. on March 17, 2024

March 19, 2024

We, members of Russian Canadian Democratic Alliance, are writing this letter to inquire if the Federal Government of Canada has prohibited the Russian Consulate from extending voting hours in Toronto.

On March 17, 2024, Russian presidential elections were held at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa and the Consulates in Toronto and Montreal.

The election was scheduled between 8 am and 8 pm Eastern time. By 8 pm, around 300 people were still waiting in line to vote in Toronto. Many anticipated the hours to be extended so that everyone had the opportunity to vote. However, Toronto police have prevented people from entering the Consulate. Afterwards, the deputy Consul General of Russia informed the crowd that they had “just received an order from the Federal Government of Canada in Ottawa” that the voting station is not allowed to operate after 8 pm Eastern time.

Hundreds of people were denied their constitutional right to vote due to this alleged order. As Russians living in Canada, we seek clarification on whether such an order was indeed issued and, if so, the rationale behind it.

We acknowledge the flawed integrity and questionable legitimacy of these elections. However, many individuals who attended polling stations did so as part of a campaign urging people to arrive at noon and vote against Vladimir Putin. As a result, many of those unable to cast their votes likely shared the democratic values that we promote as an organization.

If the decision by the Federal Government of Canada prevented the extension of polling hours in Toronto, we would appreciate knowing the justification behind it so we could communicate it to our community. In many other countries where voting took place the hours of polling stations were extended to accommodate the large voter turnout. We have not heard from participants in other counties of any instances where local federal governments intervened to prevent the extension of polling station operating hours.

We hope to obtain information regarding this issue as it makes many people rightfully upset.

Members of Russian Canadian Democratic Alliance

Video recording of Acting Consul General announcing the reception of the alleged order and the closure of the voting station.