The Honourable Sinclair Stevens v. The Conservative Party of Canada

In The Honourable Sinclair Stevens v. The Conservative Party of Canada, officially reported here, commercial litigation was used to deny political party constitutions any status under Canadian law.

The use of Cassels Brock commercial litigation to decide political matters, though questionable, was the rule under the old Elections Act. Bragging about the case, case Cassels Brock Litigators Defeat Challenges to the Merger that Created the Conservative Party of Canada, the litigators reveal that Sinclair Stevens had argued that "Canada's Chief Electoral Officer erred in approving the merger and changing the registry of political parties without soliciting submissions from those who opposed the merger, and without conducting an investigation and making a legal determination on whether or not the process for merger adhered to the old Progressive Conservative Party's constitution." The ruling was that "neither the Chief Electoral Officer nor the Canada Elections Act regulate the internal governance of political parties." Since then the Act has changed.

This strengthened the "precedent established by the Ontario Court of Appeal, in the decision of Ahenakew v. MacKay, that registered political parties have a legal existence separate from their individual members and are entitled to regulate and control their own internal affairs. Both Arthur Hamilton and Laurie Livingstone successfully argued this precedent-setting case before the Ontario Court of Appeal on June 1, 2004." These two, with Robert Kligman, acted for the CPC also in the Stevens case.

Stevens subsequently formed the Progressive Canadian Party of Canada and still seeks to reform the old Progressive Conservative Party of Canada under its original name.