Is section 67(4)(c) of the Elections Act the only thing protecting parties from Holocaust deniers?

Peter Van Loan is unimpressed with the Reform Act

by Aaron Wherry

Section 67(4)(c) of the Elections Act explains that to be on the ballot as the representative of a political party, a candidate must have “an instrument in writing, signed by the leader of the political party or by a person referred to in subsection 383(2), that states that the prospective candidate is endorsed by the party in accordance with section 68.”

Michael Chong’s Reform Act would replace that with the requirement of “an instrument in writing, signed by the nomination officer of the political party’s electoral district association for the electoral district that states that the prospective candidate is endorsed by the party.” Mr. Chong would then add two other clauses. First that, “a prospective candidate for a political party in an electoral district must be endorsed by the nomination officer of the party’s electoral district association of the party in that electoral district.” And second that, “the nomination officer … shall be appointed by the members of the electoral district association by a majority vote.”

If those changes were implemented, Government House leader Peter Van Loan worries that convicts and Holocaust deniers might get on the ballot.

Van Loan believes there are “real problems” with the Reform Act. He says the bill may be well-intentioned but it isn’t needed and doesn’t provide for sufficient vetting of potential candidates. Chong has suggested riding associations have the final say over selection of candidates, rather than a party leader.

“I don’t want to be on the same team as people who have been convicted of fraud, charged with influence peddling or are holocaust deniers,” Van Loan said.

Though I didn’t ask him about the specific possibility of Holocaust deniers, Michael Chong and I discussed the impact on riding nominations a week ago. I have, perhaps naively, suggested that the Reform Act might require more engagement at the riding level. Radical Centrist has argued that the British seem to do okay with their system of nominations. And Jeff Jedras has offered a couple of suggestions to improve this particular aspect of the Reform Act. Probably there needs to be a very specific discussion about the mechanics and politics of riding nominations, how the parties handle candidate selection, what the Reform Act would make possible and how the process established by the Reform Act would interact with party processes.

Liberal MP Ted Hsu suggests a mathematical amendment.

That said, there are a few cases where this proposal might not work. Many riding associations are so small that they are not representative and thus not democratic. Sometimes they don’t even exist. These organizations may be further challenged when there is a snap election. In these cases, it might make sense for a party’s leader to be able to designate a person to represent the party on the ballot.

My suggestion for an amendment would be that if more than, say, one-half of one percent of the electorate votes to choose a party’s candidate, then the party leader must accept that democratic will. If fewer people showed up to vote for the party’s candidate, then it vote has the possibility of being undemocratic (Was it held at an accessible time and place? Was it dominated by a special interest group? ) and the party leader should retain his or her ability to choose the party’s candidate.

Meanwhile, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel has spent the day debating democratic reform with the Internet. And Paul Thomas explains how different things are in Britain.




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Is section 67(4)(c) of the Elections Act the only thing protecting parties from Holocaust deniers?

  1. “Doesn’t provide sufficient vetting of potential candidates”: is Van Loan talking of past Harper Senate appointees?

  2. Who was that candidate Iggy got stuck with last time? Quebec and nominated by the riding I believe, and too late to do anything about it when they discovered his past…..

    • Pity for Michael Ignatieff is not a winning card.

      • You don’t know either eh?

        • It was some guy.

  3. “You people are just not responsible enough to have a democracy!”

  4. Ah ,yes the peter principle team, when spreading false rumours is free speech. ! Dean Del Mastro is the water boy .

  5. Well, it would open up the Conservative nominee recruitment base.

  6. Hey Mr. Van Loan.. have you considered that the team you should be worrying about is the one called “Your constituents”?

  7. “I don’t want to be on the same team as people who have been convicted of fraud, charged with influence peddling or are holocaust deniers,” Van Loan said.

    Nice to see he has such a high opinion of the Conservative grassroots.

    His plea for the needed filter of a party leader’s veto to protect against fraudsters and influence peddlers would hold a bit more weight if his own leader weren’t responsible for directly hiring and appointing three senators and a chief of staff all apparently guilty of those same things (in Harper’s mind, that is).

    • You forgot Mac Harb and the other two recent liberal senators. Why no info on this site about them?

  8. Also, if Chong’s bill becomes law, it becomes much easier for caucus to turf any elected member who – for whatever reason – is deemed unfit to be “on the same team”.

  9. It would seem to me that any easy solution would be to enable the party leader to pull the plug on an unacceptable candidate, but with the proviso that the party would then not have a candidate in that riding.

    Such a MAD proposal would put both riding associations and party leaders on best behaviour.

    • What? Some kind of balance of power between ‘The Centre’ and constituencies? This is crazy talk. Other than that this is elegant and doable.

    • Even has a half-way to this, above, the leader of the party still has the choice to NOT give said unacceptable candidate any position of power or authority, does he not?

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