Vander Zalm: Elections BC decision to reject Recall application for Oak Bay-Gordon Head based on “too long word count” continues pattern of obstruction and incompetence
DELTA – Fight HST Leader Bill Vander Zalm is calling for the resignation of Elections BC Acting Chief Electoral Officer Craig James in the wake of his decision to reject the application for Recall by Oak Bay-Gordon Head proponent Michael Roy Hayes on the basis that the Recall statement attached to the petition application is “too long”.
Vander Zalm says in a letter to Recall proponent Hayes, James said he considers the words “MLA” and “HST” to be not two words, but a total of eight words (Member of the Legislative Assembly and Harmonized Sales Tax) on each reference, resulting in the application statement exceeding the 200 word allotment.
“This simply continues the same pattern of obstruction that has characterized Elections BC since Craig James was appointed by Premier Gordon Campbell to take over. If there were restrictions on acronyms, that information should have been given to the applicants at the time they were handed their application. But it wasn’t because Craig James obviously made it up yesterday when he decided this would be another way to serve his BC Liberal masters by trying to sabotage the Recall petition. It is outrageous!” Vander Zalm said.
Colin Nielsen, the Lead Organizer for the Oak Bay-Gordon Head Recall says he has also been told that since the application was rejected, over 150 canvasser applications must also be re-done and re-signed.
“This is a deliberate attempt to blow us out of the water before the Christmas break. All Elections BC had to do was call us up and let us know there was a ‘technical glitch’ and we could have easily fixed it. But James is doing everything he can to try to thwart the democratic process rather than facilitate it. It’s like he’s making up the rules as he goes along,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen says he and proponent Hayes plan to return immediately to Elections BC on Thursday with the revised petition application and the existing canvasser applications to demand that the application process be facilitated.
“Enough is enough. This has got to stop. There is no reason to make us waste weeks trying to re-do all of the canvasser application again. It is like we are living in some sort of banana republic run by corrupt officials,” said Nielsen.
Vander Zalm says the latest decision by James is part of a pattern of obstruction regarding the Fight HST group. “The Acting CEO was appointed by the government, not the BC Legislature. He does not enjoy the independence and support required to be effective in this critical role as guardian of the democratic process.”
Vander Zalm says that since taking office, Acting CEO James has made a number of questionable decisions that have led many in the public to conclude he is not acting independently of the BC Government, as follows:
• James ruled that a BC Liberal government web site which contained dozens of HST advocacy videos at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars did not qualify as “Initiative advertising” even though the web site by Fight HST did.
• When the petition to end the HST was completed and validated, James refused to forward it to the Standing Committee of the Legislature as required by the Initiative Act, forcing the Fight HST proponents to get the Supreme Court to order Elections BC to submit the petition, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars to private citizens.
• James has undertaken a major overhaul of the Elections BC management structure, including firing deputy Chief Electoral Officer Linda Johnson, a 28 year veteran of the agency who also happened to rule against the BC Liberal government’s planned mailout during the petition.
• James sent intimidating letters to over 2,000 British Columbians, including numerous elderly citizens who accidentally signed the Initiative petition twice, threatening them with two years in jail and $10,000 fines only one week before Recalls were set to begin and over three months after the petition had been counted and validated.
• James has gone on record as saying that a referendum on the HST will take between one year and nine months to conduct, even though entire province wide elections have been held in the past within 4 weeks of a government giving notice to EBC that it has dropped the writ.
“Now he is telling the people of Oak Bay-Gordon Head their application for a Recall has been rejected because common acronyms like HST and MLA are actually eight words. It would be laughable if it weren’t so serious,” said Vander Zalm.
“This time he has gone too far. We call on Craig James to admit he has lost the confidence of the people of BC and done irreparable damage to the independent reputation of Elections BC, and resign. Failing that, we call on the premier to remove him and we call on the entire BC Liberal caucus and all of the potential leadership candidates to immediately denounce this charade,” Vander Zalm concluded.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 8, 2010
BC FIRST UNVEILS PLAN TO CHANGE SYSTEM THAT ALLOWS BC LIBERAL DICTATORIAL APPROACH
Delaney: It’s not enough to simply pick a new leader – the system must change in order to restore democracy
PORT COQUITLAM – BC First has unveiled its’ plan to overhaul the system that permits the concentration of power in government witnessed under the BC Liberals – an approach which has severely damaged BC’s democracy says party spokesman, Chris Delaney.
Delaney says it is not enough to simply change captains of a sinking ship. “The peaceful revolution created by the backlash against the HST was in response to an emerging dictatorship in BC. The BC Liberal caucus’ failure to recognize that will ensure that the entire party follows their former leader over the same cliff into the political abyss.”
“We need total change. We need to open up and democratize the system that allows a single person to dictate policy no matter what taxpayers think, and no matter what the cost to our economy and our democracy. Today, BC First has put forward such a plan,” said Delaney.
“Our strategy for democratic renewal will begin with the creation of a new BC Constitution that will be controlled by the people, not the politicians. It will lay out the powers of government – both what they can and cannot do. And any change to the BC Constitution will require the approval of the people in a province wide vote. Never again will a single person be able to create a tax through an executive order, or thwart the will of the public on major issues.”
Delaney continued, “A BC Constitution that is created by the people, for the people, and is owned by the people will restore our democracy, our prosperity and our freedoms. It will protect our environment, our resources and our communities for the people of BC. It is the single biggest change we can make to ensure the return of sound fiscal management and prosperity to BC again.”
Delaneys says a BC First Government will also restrict political party donations to citizens only, and will implement a full, open and televised public inquiry into government corruption committed under the BC Liberals over the last 10 years.
Following is the BC First plan for Democratic Renewal:
BC FIRST DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL
BC First will institute a complete overhaul of our government system, resulting in the creation of a “BC Constitution” establishing the limits of government power, subject to change only by the people in a province-wide referendum.
The BC Constitution will include:
• Workable Referendum, Initiative and Recall to empower citizens and hold government accountable between elections.
• Limits on government spending that can only be exceeded with public approval via referendum
• Public approval for new taxes or tax increases via referendum.
• Secret ballot free votes in the legislature to empower MLAs to act for their constituents.
• Public hearings for all conflict of interest charges or other government inquiries, that are televised and open to citizens.
• Terms Limits of no more than 8 years for a premier, and no more than 12 years for any MLA.
BC First will limit donations to political parties to citizens only with a cap of $1,000 to return the democratic process to the people instead of powerful interests.
BC First will institute a full, open and televised public inquiry into government corruption under the BC Liberals including the BC Rail Scandal, the HST Election Fraud Scandal, The BC Hydro Run of River scandal, and the Bilderberg Funding Scandal.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Chris Delaney, Spokesperson – (604) 942-6265 or cel: (604) 880-4956
Blake MacKenzie, Communications Director – (250) 483-4100