Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Medicine Hat police stop Libertarian leafletting

Libertarian candidate files official complaint after incident with police › Medicine Hat News - Gillian Slade:

October 4, 2016 - "A byelection candidate has filed an official complaint after police told him to leave the Stampede grounds parking lot where he was handing out campaign literature on Saturday and Sunday.

"'I was first approached by Stampede staff on Saturday. I gave them my Elections Canada documentation … I remained completely outside. I did not go inside the facility,' said Sheldon Johnston, Libertarian candidate.

"Johnston returned on Sunday and was told police were being called. 'I knew I was lawfully there so I continued,' said Johnston. After looking at Johnston’s documentation police asked him to leave.

"Elections Canada returning officer Mary Ulbricht says Johnston had a right to be campaigning there. Police called her at some stage over the weekend to clarify. 'I got the act and read it to the police and sent him a copy of it,' said Ulbricht. 'He was very unfamiliar with the Canada Election Act … It was a difference between public property and private.'

"The Elections Canada Act reads as follows:
81.1 (1) No person who is in control of a building, land, street or any other place, any part of which is open without charge to members of the public, whether on a continuous, periodic or occasional basis — including any commercial, business, cultural, historical, education, religious, governmental, entertainment or recreational place — may prevent a candidate or his or her representative from campaigning in or on that part when it is open without charge to members of the public.
"'I think that now the police know this is acceptable,' said Ulbricht.

"Medicine Hat Police Service say paragraph 81.1 (1) of the Elections Act does not apply in Johnston’s case because he was not an official candidate yet. ''Our officer phoned the returning officer and he’d (Sheldon Johnston) not yet registered as a candidate,' said Chief Andy McGrogan. ...

 "On Monday, Ulbricht confirmed Johnston has filed an application with Elections Canada but it has not been fully processed. Applications had to be submitted by Monday but Elections Canada’s website states it may be Wednesday before the website is updated with all official candidates.

"Ulbricht says a candidate can campaign before a byelection is even called. But section 81.1 of the Canada Elections Act only applies to candidates who have been confirmed by Elections Canada."

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1 comment:

  1. An earlier draft on the blog (advertised on Facebook and Twitter incorrectly used the name of another Alberta city with a Stampede. - GD