Elections BC announced today that it will issue a second recall petition on April 15th. The second petition is to recall the MLA for Burnaby North, Richard T. Lee.
The proponent of this recall is Loren Letourneau. As required by section 19(2)(c) of the Recall and Initiative Act (British Columbia), Mr. Letourneau filed the following statement as to why, in his opinion, the recall of Mr. Lee is warranted:
Out of a deep respect for civic duty, I cannot sit idly by while Richard T. Lee continues to be my MLA. I believe in a political system where the will and needs of a large group of people are represented in government by an elected official. In this, I feel RTL has failed. Our hospital is underfunded and overdue for seismic upgrading. He has been silent on the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion proposal, other than to echo Victoria’s talking points. And he has continued, since 2001, to be paid for the privilege of being our voice in the legislature.
Our responsibility, then, is to hold Richard T. Lee to account. This, in essence, is the purpose of a recall process. We are empowered to engage with the province and bring about immediate change. Each of our voices, each signature, will be counted and tallied directly towards our effort.
In order for this recall petition to be successful, Mr. Letourneau has until June 15th to collect 16,494 signatures from individuals who were registered electors in Burnaby North as of the date of the last election (May 14, 2013) and who continue to be registered electors in Burnaby North.
One of the criticisms of the recall process (most often made by targets of recall petitions) is that it can be abused by people who just want to re-fight the last election, instead of by people who want to recall an MLA based on their record since the previous election.
What do you think of Mr. Letourneau’s statement? Does it describe a genuine issue for recall or is it an attempt to re-fight Mr. Lee’s election?
What about the thresholds for filing a recall petition and for it succeeding? Are recall petitions being abused because the only requirement is to write a 200 word statement and file a $50 processing fee? Or are the requirements for success so high that reasonable recall campaigns are not succeeding or being initiated in the first place? If you could change the thresholds, what would they be?
If you have any thoughts on BC’s recall legislation please share them in the comments.