Kamloops recall could disrupt committee to select a new chief electoral officer

Plans to launch a recall petition against B.C. Liberal MLA Terry Lake could have unintended consequences for the effort to recruit a new chief electoral officer for B.C.

Lake is one of three B.C. Liberals and two New Democrats on  the legislature's special committee to appoint a chief electoral officer.

The others are Liberals  John van Dongen (chair) and John Les, plus New Democrats  Sue Hammell (deputy chair) and Bruce Ralston.

The committee is well along in the selection process, with perhaps two or three candidates still in the running.

But it has yet to make a final call and may not complete its deliberations for several more weeks.

Which raises the question of what happens if, as recall organizers have suggested, they launch a petition against Lake in the next week to 10 days.

Could Lake remain on the committee?  Given that  he would be helping select the official who would then be in a position to validate or eject the petition to vacate his own seat in the legislature?

The concern is particularly germane because the committee is obliged to decide unanimously, a rule that gives each member a veto over the choice of the next chief electoral officer.

The final call would be up to  the committee in consultation with the conflict commissioner.

But there's some thought that Lake would have to step down.

In such instances, the usual practice is for the vacancy to be filled with another MLA from the same party.

But that would probably not be an option in this instance because Lake's replacement would be out of the loop in terms of the selection process.

He/she would not have been as the committee winnowed the applicants down to the current short list.

Meaning the committee would have to start again, or proceed to the final selection with a reduced number of members.

The post of chief electoral officer has been vacant since Harry Neufeld's term ended back in June.

Craig James, one of the clerks of the legislature, has filled the post on an acting basis.






he would be in a position to pass judgement on the person who could then be in a position to past judgement on him — validating or ejecting the recall petition.

 who could then be in a position to pass judgement on the validity


 to the previous Chief Electoral Officer, Harry Neufeld, whose term ended last June.


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