What is the balance of convenience and the public interest?

Alberta, Canada

The following excerpt is from Harper v. Canada (Attorney General), 2000 ABCA 288 (CanLII):

That takes us to the third issue, the balance of convenience and the public interest. This issue requires consideration of a number of competing and possibly irreconcilable public interests. The chambers judge concluded that fettering the core freedom of expression and speech would “cause more harm in the public interest than the notional unproven unfairness” suggested by Canada: Harper v. Canada (Attorney General) [2000] A.J. No. 1226 (Q.L. at para. 35). The chambers judge pointed out that there have never been any third party spending limits in effect during a Canadian federal election and found that Canada had not proven any resulting unfairness. Canada argues that the chambers judge misconstrued the appropriate test for determining unfairness. At one stage, Canada asserted that fairness means equal participation by all third parties, other than political parties and candidates. At another point, Canada argued that the objective was an egalitarian one, designed to prevent third parties from exerting a disproportionate influence on election campaigns.

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