Group’s election efforts under fire as campaigning

A Nanaimo resident concerned that a lobby group breached the Local Government Act was turned away.

A Nanaimo resident concerned that a lobby group supporting specific municipal election candidates breached the Local Government Act was turned away by the RCMP after trying to file a complaint.

The complainant, who asked his name not be revealed, tried to file the complaint after learning the Concerned Citizens of Nanaimo Group – which has openly backed mayoral candidate Roger McKinnon, and council candidates Bill Bestwick, Bill McKay, Chris Cathers, Rod Lomas, and Brian Fillmore – did not register as a campaign organizer.

He was turned away twice by the Nanaimo RCMP detachment Thursday.

“I was told it isn’t in the Criminal Code so there is no offence,” he told the News Bulletin.

According to the province, if a member of the electorate is concerned someone has committed an election offence, they should “contact local police. The police are responsible for conducting an investigation and recommending to Crown counsel whether charges should be laid.”

The concerend citizens group is opposed to a supportive housing facility proposed for Uplands Drive near Hammond Bay Road and has distributed at least three mail-outs on its position on lo- barrier housing, as well as a flyer endorsing its six preferred candidates.

The candidates it supports have said they are not in favour of proceeding with the project, which, through the province’s Housing First strategy, is designed to house Nanaimo’s homeless.

Bill Inglis, group spokesman, registered his organization Thursday after learning of the oversight.

“I think it’s a bit of a stretch to look at the ad and say we’re sponsors of all of these candidates,” Inglis said. “What we’re doing is we’re saying to your public, ‘these are the candidates who support us,’ so when you’re voting, think about them.

“If you ask me are we a campaign organizer, we can now say yes,” he said. “So this is not a story.”

Under the Local Government Act, any person or any organization that endorses a candidate or opposes the selection of another candidate must register after their preferred candidate declares candidacy.

Oct. 14 was the deadline for council candidates to submit their nomination papers.

Penalties under the act, which was revised prior to the 2008 general municipal election to improve campaign transparency, include a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to a year, prohibition against holding an elected local government office position for six years, and prohibition on voting in municipal elections for up to six years.

RCMP spokesman Gary O’Brien, in an e-mail to the News Bulletin, said the complainant was turned away because he had no evidence.

“No evidence was presented [toward] what he was alleging was criminal,” wrote O’Brien. “[He was] told to go away and if he came back with a hint of criminality, it would be looked at.”

Just Posted

An event on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Tuesday to remember the 215 children whose remains were confirmed buried in unmarked graves outside a Kamloops residential school. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Canada’s racist systems cannot ever be forgiven

Teen letter writer from Nunavut calls for truth and reconciliation

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read