28 January 2011

Connie Leadership 2011: a simple but apparently overlooked point

So now the Conservatives’ appeal team have tossed a decision out of the bunker that says Brad Cabana had only three names they recognised as members of the party.

Appeal denied!

Never saw that coming.

Liberace was gay and now this.

Anyway, while this Cabana-gate fiasco has been dragging on and on, the Conservatives held a nomination to select a by-election candidate.

The requirement to vote in the nomination – as widely reported – was that the person had to be over the age of 18 years and resident in the district.  Bring along a couple of pieces of identification and they let you vote.

Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that such an approach means the party actually recognises any person resident in the district and over the age of 18 years to be, by default, a member of the Conservative party.  If they required someone to sign a statement that they supported the aims of the party, then that’s only a minor additional wrinkle.

And what does the party constitution say about voting in a district nomination fight?  That’s really important because the Conservatives down the bunker are using the party constitution to claim Brad’s list of names doesn’t qualify.

Article 12, Section 6 of the Progressive Conservative Party constitution reads:

Eligible voters entitled to vote for a person to be elected as the Party Candidate are those persons who are members of the District Association, ordinarily resident in the Electoral District at the date of the Nominating Meeting and who are not less than eighteen (18) years of age either at the date of the nominating meeting or at the date of the election, if the date of the election has been set…

read that first bit again.

“Eligible voters”, that is, those people “entitled to vote for a person to be elected as the Party Candidate” in a by-election or general election are… “persons who are members of the District Association”.

Sounds simple.

The people who can vote are members of the District Association.


So how can you tell who are member of the association?

Well, look at the official party announcement.

It merely refers to “voters”, as in:

“Voting will be held on Wednesday, January 19, 2011, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in two locations; they are:

  • Corner Brook - Elks Club
  • Gallants - Town Hall

Voters are reminded to have two pieces of I.D., one of which must include a street address and picture.”

And in that case as in every nomination since 2003, the Conservatives have allowed anyone with an address in the district and matching identification to vote.

Only members of the district association can vote and members means anyone living in the district over the age of 18 and possessing some valid identification.

So how exactly can a party that – by repeated practice – accepts anyone living in a district over the age of 18 years claim that a list of 73 people over 18 years of age and living in the province actually contains 70 names that are not members of the Conservative party?

Sounds like the party has the same legal geniuses on this cases as the ones employed in the AbitibiBowater expropriation, the 1969 contract litigation and the Ruelokke thing.

A clause that says the tribunal decision is binding on both parties actually says a judge can’t rule on the decision.

That one got laughed out of the courthouse and all the way down Duckworth Street.

Uh huh.

Next think the Legal Genius(es) will try and insist that a judge has no jurisdiction over a corporation registered in the province and operating under the Companies Act.

There are judges on Duckworth Street already drawing lots to see which of their numbers get to sort out that little legal turd and the turd-wrangler who gets to lay in in front of his or her bench.

- srbp -