Category Archives: Uncategorized

“Company owned by former B.C. government director pleads guilty to Elections Act violation”

CBC reports on a company that has pleaded guilty to one count of making an unreported political contribution in connection with providing

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/company-owned-by-former-b-c-government-director-pleads-guilty-to-elections-act-violation-1.3586654

“Partisan interests difficult to avoid in electoral reform debate”

Éric Grenier explores the politics of electoral system reform: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-electoral-reform-politics-1.3577086

One aspect of the reporting on the preferential ballot that continues to be pushed by journalists and pollsters is the idea that you can somehow accurately predict how the system would work in the future based on past elections. This is an exercise in speculation, and I take issue when it is passed off as any kind of reliable scientific prediction of how this electoral system works.

The above article refers to an earlier analysis that predicts what the result of the 2015 federal election would have been under a preferential ballot system, based on polling of peoples’ second choices.

The flaw with this analysis is that it misses the fundamental point that if you change the rules of the game, it will be played differently by political parties. When you change to a preferential ballot system, political parties and campaigns will change too. Parties and candidates will continue to try to win, but the path to victory will be different under different rules.

Trying to predict the results of elections under a different system is no more than speculation, and it should be recognized as such. This article is both an exploration and an example of how politics is difficult to separate from electoral systems

“Electoral reform: a primer”

CBC News sets out a very brief summary of some of the alternatives that will be studied by the Parliamentary committee looking into electoral reform: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/electoral-reform-types-1.3577721

The “benefits” and “drawbacks” descriptions are unfortunately very lazily done. If journalists are going to explore the strengths and weaknesses of electoral systems it deserves much more detail and evidence than a couple summary statements or quotes lifted from supporters or opponents of particular systems. Better to not have added this at all and leave the serious policy analysis to those who do it justice.

“New election technology could bring end to searching voter lists, speed up result times”

CBC news reports on the e-poll books and vote tabulators that were tested by Elections Ontario in a February by-election and the efficiencies they can bring to the administration of elections:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/new-election-technology-could-bring-end-to-searching-voter-lists-speed-up-result-times-1.3572411

Andrew Coyne on Post-Employment Conflict of Interest Restrictions

Andrew Coyne with a sarcastic take on “a chorus of voices” that are criticizing the post-employment provisions of the Conflict of Interest Act (Canada): http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/andrew-coyne-listen-theres-nothing-we-couldnt-fix-in-this-country-if-we-only-had-looser-lobbying-rules

I take some issue with his description of lawyering (and journalism) as weaselly; I certainly don’t think that applies to the kind of law I practice, and weaselly is more of a personality trait that can apply to someone in any career. But this piece is meant to provoke a chuckle so we lawyers shouldn’t take it personally!

“Rex Murphy: The Liberal government does not have the right to unilaterally change our voting system”

Rex Murphy opined in the National Post yesterday on the process of how the electoral system should be changed in Canada: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/rex-murphy-the-liberal-government-does-not-have-the-right-to-unilaterally-change-our-voting-system

Murphy states that the Government does not have the “right” to change Canada’s voting system without first holding a referendum, but that is not correct. Everyone may have an opinion on whether a Government has the moral authority to change the electoral system, and there may indeed be some changes to the system that the Government does not have the right to do (e.g. those that violate section 3 of the Charter or involve amendments to the Constitution).

But despite Murphy’s objections to the Government proceeding unilaterally on electoral reform, it is indeed possible for them to do so. I for one don’t expect a nation-wide referendum on electoral reform any time soon.

“Green Party quietly paid MP and deputy leader Bruce Hyer a ‘stipend’ on top of $167K Commons salary”

Glen McGregor reports today in the National Post about payments made by the Green Party  to a former NDP MP who became Green deputy leader on top of his House of Commons salary: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/green-party-quietly-paid-mp-and-deputy-leader-bruce-hyer-a-stipend-on-top-of-167k-commons-salary

According to Bruce Hyer the payments were for extra responsibilities he did for the Green Party.

The Green Party has not publicly disclosed how much it paid Mr. Hyer for these services and its spokesman has claimed the amount is private information.

This misses the mark in my opinion. The Green Party, like all other political parties, receive significant subsidies from taxpayers in a number of ways. If they are taking public money, its a bit much for them to claim what they do with it is private, especially if it involves topping up the significant remuneration of an MP, who shouldn’t have time on top of his job as an MP to do anything else.

Judicial Recount in Edmonton Mill Woods

Elections Canada announced yesterday that there will be a judicial recount in the electoral district of Edmonton Mill Woods.

Liberal candidate Amarjeet Sohi was elected in Edmonton Mill Woods with 20,398 votes (41.2%), 79 votes more than Conservative party candidate Tim Uppal.

Pursuant to section 301 of the Election Acts (Canada), an elector may request a recount if there is credible evidence that (a) a deputy returning officer has incorrectly counted or rejected any ballots, or has written an incorrect number on the statement of the vote for the votes cast for a candidate; or (b) the returning officer has incorrectly added up the results set out in the statements of the vote.

The recount will begin on Tuesday, October 27, 2015.

If you are interested in learning all about the federal judicial recount process, Elections Canada has produced a detailed and lengthy Judicial Recount Manual which is available on its website.