in Beautiful B. C.
Manipulation = Obstruction*
The BC liaRs under Gordo the Great Prevaricator have gotten manipulation of the "justice" system down to a fine art. After a decade of
Now, even though we CAN talk about it (at least I think we can) the anti-HST petition has been swallowed up into former AG StoneWally's favorite realm of "it's before the courts." Undoubtably much to the chagrin of the Gordo Gang, Elections BC, even with their freshly appointed "acting" Chief Electoral Officer, it proved impossible to invalidate enough signatures to quash the petition. Vaughn Palmer woke up somewhat free of his zombie spell of the Gordo with HST battle could fester for months during court challenges and sketches out how difficult it was for Craig James to find a way to derail the will of the people.
The business groups challenging the petition itself thought that Elections BC shouldn't even validate the signatures until issues were resolved in court (which as we know, in BC could be beyond the life expectancy of many. However as Vaughn points out clearly
The act left no doubt about what should happen with the anti-HST petition once it was delivered to Elections BC.
"Within 42 days from the day on which the petition is submitted to the chief electoral officer, he or she must determine whether the petition meets the requirements."
Must determine whether the petition has the required number of signatures; do so within 42 days.
No leeway there for the chief electoral officer to delay the verification process.
It was in the next step that Mr. James, perhaps hoping to become the "real" and not just acting Chief Electoral Officer, or perhaps coveting other high appointed office found his weasel hole. I'll let Vaughn take it away again from here.
Once the petition is verified, the act provides for it to be sent to a special committee of the legislature for further consideration.
Here's the relevant wording: "If the chief electoral officer determines that the initiative petition meets the requirements, the chief electoral officer must send a copy of the petition and draft bill to the committee."
Again "must send." But unlike the passage dealing with signature verification, no mention of a timeline. That distinction, slim as it was, suggested a way to respect both the initiative process and the court. Elections BC could verify the petition but hold off sending it to the committee until after the legal challenge was resolved.
Mr. James basically provided Bill VanderZalm with a two paragraph letter and made a further statement to Mr. Palmer regarding his actions. Click on small image to right to read the letter to Bill VanderZalm.
"With respect to the reason why I am going to hold in abeyance any further involvement with Mr. Vander Zalm's petition until after the resolution of the court cases, it is important to note that counsel for the [business] group contended that even continuing with the vote count might be seen as an abuse of process in view of the pending court application. Whereas Mr. Vander Zalm's position was that the verification process should continue uninterrupted.
"Under the circumstances, and given due respect to the court proceedings, it seemed appropriate to complete the vote count within the time frame mandated by the Act but to thereafter place matters in abeyance pending the court outcome."
Personally I think that the "[business] group" is abusing due process by even bringing this action. But then I think that the Inferior Health Authority is abusing due process when they file SLAPP suits against healthcare users who dare criticize their policies, just to shut them up under threat of immense legal costs. I also think Gordon Campbell abuses due process by fighting disclosure in the BC Rail case year after year to the extent of ordering documentation relevant to the case destroyed and having the former law partner of the Oh So Special Prosecutor Wild Bill Berardino vetting documents for "privilege."
I think we should thank Mr. James for this contorted conclusion, I think it will only stoke the fires of the raging anti-Campbell, anti BC liaR flames all the more. After all, it isn't as if the Government has to do more than PRETEND to pay attention to the petition (though some MLAs would have to actually....choke.....vote yea or nay on it) - which hasn't been done at all (part of the basis of the anti-HST group's countersuit also before the courts (or sub judice). The only vote I've heard of was the extinquishment of the PST - everything else has been typical Order in Council behind closed doors, or business as usual.
Everybody just remember (to tune of September Song)
It's not a long, long time, until November.....
And then it's time
TO RECALL THEM ALL
* Original (pre-PhotoShop) picture by AHughman