Ruling from B.C. Supreme Court on case to disqualify Vancouver Mayor & Councillor for alleged conflict of interest

(Updated) The “Reasons for Judgment” in the B.C. Supreme Court proceeding for the disqualification of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillor Geoff Meggs for alleged conflict of interest in the November 2014 civic election were released by the Court today, April 17, 2015, at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Case: VA S149646 -Justice Elliott Myers – Helten v. Robertson

Court ruling: Judge Myers Court ruling, re Helten v. Robertson, case S149646, 17-April-2014
Petitioners’ response statement: STATEMENT_Petitioners in Robertson Meggs disqualification case S149646_17-Apr-2015 WEB

The five citizen Petitioners in this case have created a website to provide information to the public on the core issues:

Robertson Meggs Citizens’ Case

It contains:

  • Audio/video (including the leaked audio)
  • Media coverage
  • Chronology
  • Full backgrounder of Petitioners’ legal case

Excerpt of statement by Petitioners (see link above):

We had asked the Court to explore and define the line of acceptable behaviour by elected officials when they are accepting campaign funds and support. We are saddened by the message this ruling gives to society.

Compared to other jurisdictions, British Columbia is still like the “Wild Wild West” due to virtually nonexistent rules about who can donate and how much money can change hands in local elections. In contrast, some jurisdictions in Canada ban union and corporate donations and impose reasonable limits on the amounts of donations to candidates in local elections. Municipalities in this province have none of these controls. This speaks volumes: The lawyer for the defendants referred to us in Court as “A bunch of do-good citizens who think their views are more important than the electorate.” He also said, “Elected politicians should not be put in a position of having to waste their time and money responding to this type of action…” Our lawyer rightly responded, “It is not fair … to be characterizing these people in such a negative and derogatory way, when what they are asking is to have issues of concern to the fairness of the electoral process be considered by the Court.” We still believe the merits of the case are very strong. The public should remain interested in this case and in the issues it raises. We are carefully studying the ruling and will consider making an appeal.

Coincidentally, today, April 17, is significant as the final day for public input to the B.C. Legislature Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits. We encourage the public to get involved today to change election finance rules. (Most of the public hearings across British Columbia were cancelled due to the lack of public awareness that the committee even existed.) Output from this Committee will eventually end up in legislation for the 2018 civic election. Regrettably, its mandate is only for expenses, but with sufficient public pressure, we hope the Provincial government might also adopt reasonable limits on political donations for 2018.

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