Tuesday, February 08, 2011

How serious are the Liberals about fighting membership abuses?

Last fall, the acting chief electoral officer took action over evidence false filings might have tainted the recall process, as this story indicates.

Anti-HST group claims Elections BC is derailing recall effort
VICTORIA— Published Monday, Nov. 08, 2010 offence
The top organizer of the Fight HST campaign says Elections BC is using intimidation tactics to derail recall efforts, after the non-partisan agency revealed it has asked the RCMP to investigate the conduct of seven canvassers involved in the group’s anti-tax petition.

But the Liberal party and the Kevin Falcon campaign staff haven’t shown any similar desire to discover how Kamloops Blazer junior hockey players - possibly the entire team - were signed up as party members without their knowledge or consent.
Who signed them up? Were signatures forged? How many other party members were signed up in the same way? Has the organizer been fired by the Falcon campaign?
And why hasn’t the party, if it is concerned about the integrity of the process, turned the information over to police?
It is a criminal offence to utter forged documents - that is to use or attempt to cause the use of a document known to be false. It's also against the law to "present a false fact with the fraudulent intent to induce a person to act on the misrepresentation." Like, possibly, claiming a 17-year-old junior hockey player has filled out and signed a membership form, and paid the fee, when he hasn't.
It’s tough to believe the party is serious about enforcing the rules if there are no consequences for violations, beyond the cancellation of the memberships if offenders are caught.
And the response of the Falcon campaign and the party to the story below suggests that's the case.

Blazers signed up as Liberals - without their knowledge
By Christopher Foulds - Kamloops This Week
February 08
Kamloops Blazers players were signed up to B.C. Liberal Party memberships by a supporter of leadership candidate Kevin Falcon.
The problem is, none of the players were aware of their membership in the party.
"We learned yesterday (Feb. 7) that one of our supporters had signed up several members of the Kamloops Blazers hockey team as members of the B.C. Liberal Party without their knowledge," Falcon's campaign manager Norman Stowe said.
"On learning the details, we immediately contacted party headquarters to advise them. We told them we believe these memberships are not valid and  should be removed from the party membership list."
Stowe told KTW someone in the Blazers' organization signed up the players, though he did not know if the memberships were accompanied by the $5 youth membership fee.
Tom Gaglardi, majority owner of the Western Hockey League club, is a supporter of Falcon's leadership bid.
Stowe said the Falcon campaign learned of the dubious sign-ups when someone in Kamloops contacted the campaign.
"I'm only guessing, but it could have been the whole team," Stowe said when asked how many players had been made instant Grits.
For their part, the Kamloops Blazers issued a statement from vice-president and general manager Craig Bonner, which reads in full:
“I have been informed that applications for membership to the B.C. Liberal Party by our players were handled incorrectly. I take full responsibility for this communication error and have asked the B.C. Liberal Party to withdraw the subject applications for membership.”


piker said...

Who are the new BC Liberals? Setting aside Campbell, am I really expected to believe that 50,000+ of my fellow citizens are completely oblivious to the politics of this province for the last ten years? 50,000 British Columbians who believe that Clark, de Jong, Falcon, and Abbott represent a substantive break from Campbell?

Who put forward the $250 bucks to sign up the Blazers. Whose paying for the mass sign ups in the Indo-Canadian community? And why would I, an average British Columbian who follows politics, waste my ten dollars on party system that's so obviously open to outright fraud? A pox on all your houses.

DPL said...

Gosh Paul, since you and your other half are both in the media, you better check to make sure your names, and for that matter ,the folks who read your stuff, are not all new Liberals if we want to be or not. I wouldn't put anything past those shady characters.

Anonymous said...

Abuse or Fraud ?

Whether to punish Kash Heed's exonerator for conflict was determined by, among others, a Liberal donor and former Liberal cabinet minister.

by Andrew MacLeod, TheTyee.ca

Anonymous said...

Today's papers offer an interesting contrast of opinions.

The Vancouver Sun's Vaughn Palmer comes out in favour of Elections BC being involved in leadership contests -- http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/Opinion+Lali+calls+shenanigans/4256598/story.html -- Political parties are important public institutions. They choose our leaders and the folks who become MLAs and cabinet ministers. With leadership contests in a governing party - Social Credit in 1986, the NDP in 1996 and 2000, the B.C. Liberals today - party members pick a premier with zero input from the public at large.

Independent scrutiny from Elections BC would help ensure that those selections are fair, open and free from abuse.

Across the Salish Sea at the Victoria Times Colonist's Les Leyne takes the opposite tack -- http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/Keep+Elections+party+races/4256477/story.html -- Changing the law to bring Elections B.C. into the picture would require expanding that office and adding millions to its budget. The agency already has enough to do running elections, registering voters, overseeing initiative efforts and regulating recall campaigns.

Elections B.C. already regulates leadership campaign donations. Bringing the office farther into party politics would create a mammoth, expensive new field of enterprise.

As for me... I would be happy if non-BCers were out of the picture. No foreign (outside of BC headquartered) companies, no foreign (outside of BC) money, and no foreign (outside of BC) people - good-bye Rod Love and Kyle Washington! This is BC's election, not for foreign interlopers to be coming in and influencing our election.

Shame on any party, or any person who accepts foreign help.

Norm Farrell said...

Answer to the question posed in the title: They are not at all serious.

Insiders have always had a firm grip on voting in the Liberal Party. Nowadays, they don't need members for anything more than appearances. They don't rely on volunteers during elections, even the mundane activities such as sign making and distribution. Everything is purchased, slick and professional.