Saturday, November 8, 2008
Ignorance of the Law Now a Defence?
This despite having lived in Burnaby for 15 years, being a "TV host for Fairchild TV and movie director and producer" according to his bio, and a member of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission.
Yet, there was a group of Chang's supporters apparently canvassing voters at an advance poll. Chang himself had to be asked to leave after he'd voted.
"Ann Lorentsen, the city's deputy chief elections officer, said staff had to ask Chang to leave the centre after he voted Saturday morning.
"He didn't seem to understand that he couldn't hang around in the voting area," Lorentsen said. "He left, but some of his supporters stayed behind." Lorentsen said she saw one of Chang's supporters speaking to voters as they entered the lobby of Shadbolt Centre. "I have no idea what she told them because they weren't speaking English," Lorentsen said. ...
Later, elections staff saw Chang and his supporters speaking to voters in the parking lot of Shadbolt Centre, Lorentsen said. The lot is within 100 metres of the voting area, she said.
"They were talking to people and escorting people in to vote," Lorentsen said, adding it was 2 p.m. before elections staff got Chang and his supporters to leave the parking lot. ..."
Chang maintains he both knows the rules and did not break them.
B.C.'s Local Government Act covers municipal elections. It states that a person cannot "canvass or solicit votes or otherwise attempt to influence how an elector votes" within 100 metres of a voting place on election day or during an advanced vote.
It also says, "other than for the purpose of voting, a candidate must not be present at a voting place or special voting opportunity while voting proceedings are being conducted."
Seems pretty cut and dried. Yet, there were Chang and his people.
Lee Rankin of Team Burnaby is calling for a police investigation and I agree. Rankin says he's outraged and I agree, I am too.
The Act provides for up to a year in the Skookum House (that's prison, Mr Chang) a fine up to $5k, and how about a six month ban on one holding an elected office at the muni level.
However, city staff have taken it on themselves to not pursue the matter "because Saturday was the first day of voting and because Chang seemed to misunderstand the rules." according to Lorentsen.
One can't help wondering how often and how far these people empower themselves to exceed their authority.
BCA Mayor Dolittle Corrigan of course figures his guy has suffered enuff. "I think he was chastised quite appropriately by elections staff,".
Well, Mr Mayor, the Act does not empower staff to settle this with a scolding, it clearly calls for a police investigation immediately.