Friday, November 26, 2010

"Acting" Chief Electoral Officer of BC demands absolute perfection ... UPDATED

Even though he himself has never been properly appointed by the required all-party committee of the BC legislature. From the Times-Colonist:
(Emphasis mine)

In a letter sent Wednesday, acting chief electoral officer Craig James said the application for recall in Oak Bay - Gordon Head was rejected because it "exceeded the 200 word limit."

"Elections BC cannot accept an application that does not meet the legislated requirements of the Act," wrote James, adding it was the acronyms - such as MLA and HST - that pushed it over.
Right. We live in a political Star Wars environment in BC. We don't need the Evil Empire spelled out for us. We know what the HST is.
I don't agree with former BC premier Bill Vander Zalm on much, but he's right on this one:

"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," Vander Zalm said in a statement.
"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," he added.
And seeing James to the door is gaining popularity.

Very important update: This requires an investigation.


Kim said...

Hey Dave, thanks for the bump! This story has legs.

Cathie from Canada said...

Is it correct that they are trying to recall politicians, not for corruption or malfeasance, but just for voting to support the policy of their own government? If so, it is an abuse of the recall statutes.
Also, I find it amazing that anyone in BC could support anything Bill Vander Zalm wants.
Ah, BC politics, still crazy after all these years.

Kim said...

The recall is about so much more than HST. It's about privatisation of public assets, it's about corruption, organised crime, money laundering, breach of public trust. It's about our railway, our rivers, our salmon and forests and so much more.

What it's not about is VanderZalm. He is a catalyst, a tool in a much bigger debate.

Cathie from Canada said...

Sorry, I hadn't realized the Ida Chong recall was about her connections to organized crime and charges of money laundering and breach of public trust -- there was nothing in the Times Colonist article about these charges, only about the HST. Pretty shocking for an Oak Bay -Gordon Head politician to be involved in such criminality. In that case, recall would certainly be justified.

Cathie from Canada said...

OK, I have checked some other stories and websites, and the only reason I can find for recalling Ida Chong is that she supported the HST, which was the policy of her government. OakBay Gordon Head knew she would vote Liberal when they elected her three times.
As I said before, I believe that trying to recall a politician for the crime of being a politician is an abuse of the recall statute.
I would be surprised to see the NDP take this seat from her, in spite of how close they came in 2009 -- Oak Bay Gordon Head is not exactly filled with radicals, in fact more the reverse.

Anonymous said...

Cathie, is 'crazy' anybody with whom you don't agree?
We BCers hate the HST because of how it was brought in. No more, no less. All people tend to feel angry after any decision regarding them is made without their own input. Lack of consultation regarding the HST was a huge betrayal of us tax payers. Yes, recall regarding the HST is legit, because the HST should have been an electoral issue.
Ida Chong, and seventeen others, must be made to run supporting the HST, and see if they can win, this time.

Alison said...

The acronyms HST and GST were counted as six words not two, and that's what pushed it over the 200 word limit - a limit which was decided upon after Elections BC received the HST application!

Here's some background on Gordo's appointment of Chief Electoral James back in Sept. J
James immediately canned the Deputy CEO who axed Gordo's HST mailout.

Gordo appointee cans Elections BC officer who axed Gordo's HST mailout

Alison said...

Correction :
MLA counts as five words
May 12, 2009 counts as five words.
10/10/11 - five words
85 - two words


Dave said...

Cathie, I guess it depends on the definition of "malfeasance".

Aside from a host of corruption issues, not the least of which is the lingering BC Rail fiasco, most British Columbians view the way the HST was introduced and imposed as malfeasance.

Politicians lie. But when they do it and then laugh at their constituents they deserve to be dealt with as severely as the system will allow.

I don't have much time for recall legislation, but I have less time for partisan political appointees jerry-mandering the electoral system to benefit the individual who appointed them.

James deserves nothing short of dismissal from his position, for more than playing word games.

Cathie from Canada said...

As much as I might disagree with the people who signed this recall petition, it also sounds like the reason for rejecting the petition was ridiculous.

Dana said...

Cathie, could you expand on your reasons for declining to hold deceitful politicians to account through recall, please?

Especially in a province where you do not live or vote?

You do understand that the legislation doesn't specify legitimate reasons for recall, don't you?

From reading you as long as I have I would have thought you'd be in favour of anything that helped citizens hold politicians to account. It astonishes the hell out of me that you apparently don't.

Kim said...

Ida Chong, a resident of Oak Bay, has the distinction of spending the most money of any MLA in BC on food in her budget. She charged us (the taxpayers)more money for food than Rich Coleman! For the record, her home is 20 minutes from work BY FOOT. This was the minister for healthy living and sport (and easily the smallest person in cabinet.)

Ms. Chong is a bum on a seat. She toes the party line. As Minister for healthy living and sport, she accomplished nothing for the children of BC. She was recruited by Campbell to appease a demographic. Her family have land holdings in Victoria. A brother on the VPD. Or was he fired?

Oak Bay has, in the past voted NDP, stranger things have happened.

From my perspective, every Campbell caucus member is guilty of breach of public trust.

Cathie from Canada said...

Dana -- Elections are for holding politicians to account for their political behaviour, while recalls should be reserved for cases where personal behaviour is so corrupt that it is necessary to try to overturn the will of the voters between elections.
I think people need to be wary about using recalls for political reasons -- those who live by the sword die by the sword. The vote in Oak Bay Gordon Head was close last time between NDP and Liberal -- 40 some percent each -- so if there is a recall election, and this time the NDP win, are the dissatisfied Liberals going to pester the NDP with more recall petitions every time their new member votes in a way that 40 per cent of them don't like? That's no way to run a province.
I think BC is the only province, or one of the only ones, with a recall statute.
We lived in Victoria for 10 years and after growing up in supposedly socialist Saskatchewan, I found BC politics to be the most partisan, bitterly divided, craziest politics in the country.

Dana said...

Is that the only tool we have? Elections are it? Every 4 years is it? Irrespective of the damage done in the meantime? Pretty meagre recourse.

If 40% of the population of a riding "disagree" with something a politician does 10% or so of those people are likely to rant and rave and stand around outside the pols office.

If 40% of them think they've been deliberately lied to, manipulated and its costing them money the politician never once mentioned during the most recent election they might just try to organize a recall campaign.

The issue here is a good deal more serious than mere "disagreement". I'm sure a good percentage of the electorate in Oak Bay have "disagreed" with Ida along the way. It wasn't until they got to the point of understanding they'd been flat out lied to during an election campaign that they got the campaign going.

BC politics have been crazy since Amor de Cosmos.

Dave said...

It stands that the reason for recall is that all BC Liberal cabinet minister fraudulently acquired their positions.

The direct question was asked of their leader during the scheduled election compaign if HST was being considered and he replied, "It's not on the table."

Subsequently it has been proved that the answer was a deliberate lie. That's malfeasance enough to hold every member of the provincial ministry to account - immediately.

Had we been provided with a truthful answer to a very straight-forward question, there would have been a different electoral outcome.

Dana said...

Further - the reason for recall is to bring about another immediate election. Yes, the previous result is nullified but the nullification must be addressed by the calling of another election. So if elections are the be all and end all of citizen participation in democracy surely it must be reasonable to have more of them, conducted honestly.

Further again - is it sensible for the instigation of elections to remain solely in the hands of the government or legislature of the day? Or ought citizens be able to have some direct say in when elections are held. Aren't we disempowered enough by the great and privileged?

Cathie from Canada said...

Reasonable points, all. But our parliamentary system allows MLAs also to force an election so it isn't necessarily a four-year wait.
I still don't agree with recalls except for personal corruption -- nor, for that matter, do I agree with government by referendum -- but that's just me. If enough BC voters are angry enough at Ida Chong to turf her out, then so be it.

Dana said...

By MLAs I have to assume you mean opposition MLAs.

How exactly do they do that in a majority government situation?

I appreciate that you think we live in the best of all possible worlds when it comes to system of governance but that is not the same as saying our system is perfect.

Citizens in this modern corporatized world are less represented by our system of government than at any other time in the course of our history.

While I am no fan of direct democracy I am now a fan of anything that puts even a smidgen of citizen initiated power into the hands of citizens - most especially between elections.

Over the course of my life I've met and conversed with maybe 2 dozen politicians of various stripes. Including curiously Bill Vanderzalm when he made his first foray into the game in '68.

I've been a guest in the gallery in the House of Commons and was even introduced from the floor. (But that's another story.)

All those politicians had one thing and only one thing in common.

They were concerned first, foremost and always with being re-elected.

If a citizen initiation, any citizen initiation, can make them pay closer attention to the fact that we are paying heed to what they say in order to be re-elected I'm for it.