Fire Board Supreme Court date set

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, June 12 2019

The BC Supreme Court hearing to decide on the petition to negate the April 24, 2019 Fire Board Trustee Election will be on July 2, 2019.

The petitioners - ‘Drew’ Staniland, Ivan Bulic, and April Vannini - filed their request for a hearing date on Friday, June 7 in the Nanaimo Courthouse.

In their request for a hearing, the petitioners have revised the initial petition.

Originally the petition had said the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District had, “failed to ensure only qualified and eligible voters cast ballots in the election for new trustees as set out by the Local Government Act.”

Based on the affidavits included with the petition, as well as with the Fire District’s response, the petition now states the Trustees of the District and presiding officer for the election:

- failed to check that only qualified and eligible voters cas ballots;

- failed to ask for personal identification to verify persons were qualified to vote, nor were ballots issued to electors when they registered to vote on the sign-in sheets;

- failed to issue numbered ballots to voters;

- failed to set out a process to ensure no voter received more than one ballot;

- failed to set out a process for distributing ballots, thereby resulting in ballots being distributed randomly by volunteers, with no oversight to ensure ballots were only given to qualified voters;

- failed to set out a process where electors could obtain a new ballot if a ballot was spoiled

- failed to set out a process to esnure balloting was conducted in secret and that no voters were coerced as they marked their ballots;

- did not publicly declare to the meeting a point in time when balloting was ended;

- allowed additional ballots, which were not placed in the ballot box, to be accepted after the counting of marked ballots had begun;

- failed to account for at least one spoiled ballot, which was not counted or tabulated, nor scrutinized to determine the nature of the spoilage;

- failed to conduct an official recount of ballots cast;

- did not announce the full results of balloting, and as a consequence none of the candidates were made aware of the margin of votes separating the successful candidates from the unsuccessful candidates.

There were 231 registered landowners on the sign-in sheets at the entry to the truck bay for the 2019 election. In 2018, there were 17. At the 2019 election, 222 valid ballots were turned in (each ballot has space for the two names), for a total of 444 votes. Paul Giffin earned 116 votes; Paul Champion earned 111; Wilf Caron received 110 votes; and Mike Taylor received 107.

The hearing is currently scheduled for 9:45am on July 2 in the Nanaimo Courthouse, and is open to the public.

The petitioners have filed that they believe their portion of the hearing will take 60 minutes; the District (as respondents) has said their portion will take 120 minutes.

The petition was originally filed on May 8, 2019, two weeks to the day after the April 24, 2019 election was held.

It calls on the BC Supreme Court to declare the April 24, 2019 election, “of no effect, and order a new election.