Is Plecas unstoppable in our Democracy? - Alcyonenews

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Posted July 26, 2019

Is Plecas unstoppable in our Democracy?

In Court system lingo, “Sharp Lawyering” is the use of technicalities to defy  the Law. I will re-word it to  “Sharp Politicking” to denote the use of technicalities to defy Democracy.  Bad as it is Sharp Politicking becomes worse when done by politicians assigned the task of protecting Democratic tenets, such as the position Darryl Plecas currently holds. It would not be an exaggeration if one calls this  “treason” and compare its perpetrators to a  “fifth column”.  Justifiably, free societies  breed Zero Tolerance for Sharp Politicking.

In the July 12 column “Plecas stands accused and must answer to the public”  I relate a  request to the Chief Electoral Officer of BC (“CEO”) for an investigation into  Plecas fiasco. I reasoned that Plecas (whether for better or worse hardly matters) skewed the result of the January 30, 2019 Nanaimo by-election.  In 587 words I reasoned the request succinctly, aiming to alarm the CEO, if somehow he had missed this aspect of the Plecas hullabaloo. Read it on line on the Marketplace website.

The CEO responded with what it appears being a “form letter” reading as follows:

“Dear Tom Varzeliotis,

Thank you for your email. The Chief Electoral Officer of British Columbia, Anton Boegman, has asked me to respond on his behalf.

Elections BC is responsible for the administration of the Election Act and its associated regulations as they are prescribed in legislation. The matters that you describe in your email are not regulated by the Election Act or its associated regulations, and so the Chief Electoral Officer has no authority to conduct an investigation such as the one you describe.

Kind regards, Cameron Harrison, Investigations Program Coordinator”

I beg to differ:  To begin with, they cite no Section of the Act compelling the CEO to inaction in the face of the Plecas’ scandal.

The Election Act was enacted to ensure “fair elections”. To prevent biased elections, is an indisputable corollary to it.  Surely the Act does not empower the CEO  to investigate a candidate overspending a few Loonies in the heat of the campaign, but forbids the CEO from  investigating the abuse of the powers of an  unscrupulous public office holder to twist the outcome of an election, which is precisely what Plecas appears to have done.

It may be a matter of a fault in the Law but the CEO should at least  speak to it specifically.  After all, the Election Act was not crafted by the electorate, it has been manufactured by “inside stakeholders” in the “governing industry”. And while I do not say that everyone involved in its enactment and its evolution have acted in bad faith, I do not discount issues of conflict of interest having influenced its making. I have only skimmed through the Act and I saw it peppered with opportunities for wide interpretation.  This allows  its administrators “to find in it what they are looking for”. Evidently, sometimes they look for the wrong thing.

Next I will visit the "everything which is not forbidden is allowed” concept (nulla poena sine lege). It is akin to counting angels dancing on the head of a pin. It appears that in this instance, the CEO takes this as being true, literally.

Let’s now assume that the CEO found nothing in the Act compelling him to investigate  the Speaker of the Legislature.  Yet, the Law compels the Speaker to be  non-partisan.  Therefore, influencing an election is an antithesis to the requirement that the  Speaker be non-partisan . Then, if the Speaker misbehaves, the political party who benefitted from the Speaker’s malfeasance, may prevent the Legislature from investigating the Speaker. Hence the Legislature is not the body to deal with the Speakers’ dishonouring his office to affect the election. This tosses the hot potato into the lap of the CEO.

The Act mandates the Electoral Officer to ensure fair elections without exceptions. This  because one “exception” leads to another and before long Despotism becomes routine.

Indisputably Plecas was in a serious conflict of interest situation when he interfered in the Nanaimo by-election. It is unlikely that he and his advisor Alan Mullen were unaware that were “manipulating” the Nanaimo by-election. In any event, pertinent is that they did it.

The Election Act primarily prohibits “loading the election dice”. Since the number of “tricks” that may be devised is limited only by the extent of a trickster’s creativity and imagination, there is no pragmatic way for the law to safeguard society against every  possibility. The Act, is pragmatic as it decrees Elections be fair without exceptions.

There was no law specifically prohibiting the President of the USA to do Watergate. But, Richard Nixon was “evicted”  from the White House for indulging in “Watergating” to affect his election. His assurances that “he was not a crook” did not help, either.  And what about Russians influencing elections in distant lands, or  our “robocalls”? Should then Plecas be safe in the legislature building?

In a free society like ours, interference with the fairness of Elections is specifically prohibited and the CEO exist to enforce this ban, no matter who the perpetrator may be, plain and simple.

Once again, I plead with the CEO to reconsider the issue, this time around from  the overall perspective and explain thoroughly his stance on Plecas, whatever it may be. Because  Elections BC must be seen as sterling.

Tom V.

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