The decision by B.C.’s “Acting” Chief Electoral Officer Craig James to stall the anti-HST petition until court cases are dealt with MUST be challenged in court. I believe he’s wrong; he made a mistake; he went far beyond his proper role in validating a petition.
He has in effect destroyed B.C.’s democratic petition legislation, because if his decision is allowed to stand, no petition could ever be passed: ANYONE or ANY GROUP could stop any petition by launching a court case or a series of court cases … delaying petitions for months and years …in effect killing off the public’s will.
In my view, the Acting Chief Electoral Officer mistakenly violated the Petition Act. It calls for his office to verify the validity of the petitions’ signatures, and if that requirement is satisfied, the petition MUST be forwarded to the legislature.
It’s none of his business whether anyone is challenging any BC law in court. Let the government and the courts deal with that. Not a bureacrat making unilateral decisions and declarations.
The petition was validated; the signatures are legitimate, and the results should be forwarded to the politicians to deal with. Pass it or defeat it--but at least deal with it!
If we let a bureaucrat unilaterally decide that the public’s will should still be set aside, delayed possibly for years and basically killed, then our democracy has been turned into a dictatorship by unelected offiicals.
This ruling MUST be fought in court and with our politicians.
The legislature should accept the petition as validated, respect the will of the people and move to consider it forthwith.
And make no mistake about it, the Liberals will only make the voters even angrier (who would have that possible?) if they hide behind the Electoral Officer’s decision to stall the petitition.
It’s in the government’s own interest to deal with the matter NOW.
The real question is whether they are smart enough to realize that.
This article originally appeared in Mr. Oberfeld's blog, Keeping it Real. Reprinted with permission.