First, I have to thank you for writing a well thought out article about the court petition that I have launched in the Supreme Court of BC in Vancouver. The case has now been filed in court and in a short time we will have a true court date sometime in January when this matter will be heard.
Toward the end of the article, you quote Mr. Shelley as having said that there is supposedly a UBCM resolution to allow firefighters to run for council, and presumably sit on council. To my knowledge, that resolution was not adopted by the provincial government. Instead, the province has enacted Order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council #445 dated September 16, 2011. This Order clarifies what conditions have to be met to be allowed to use the designation of volunteers in running for office. (copy of Order 445 attached).
My petition to the Supreme Court is in place to insure that the letter of the law governing elections in BC is applied in full. The election law is a basic document which is the pillar of how our society is run. Strict adherence to this law is mandatory so that society has respect for the laws of the land, and for the people who are in office. There cannot be any shortcuts, or assumptions. There are no exceptions or suppositions that govern the application of the elections law. This is done to safeguard our basic democratic laws and to eliminate any chances of abuses.
Sadly, what we have here is a candidate for municipal office who has not followed the letter of Local Government Act of BC. The act states exactly what a person has to do to be enabled to run for office if he is for example a firefighter. The steps are spelled out clearly in section 67 (4), through to 67 (9). The instructions are very clear in the act, and section 67 (2) says: Unless the requirements of this section are met, an employee of a municipality is disqualified from being nominated for, being elected to or holding office as a member of council of the municipality. To my knowledge, Mr. Shelley has not followed any of these prescribed steps.
Village of Harrison Hot Springs Bylaw no. 923 is a bylaw meant to establish services with respect to provisions for fire fighting services within the Village of Harrison Hot Springs. In this bylaw, the word “volunteer” is nowhere to be found. It speaks that “Member” means a person that is recruited and trained by the Fire Chief and following appropriate training, becomes a paid on call (POC) firefighter of the Village of Harrison Hot Springs Fire Department by ratification of council. A member is deemed to be a Municipal Public Officer as defined in the Community Charter.
Nowhere in Bylaw 923 is there anything which allows a POC fire fighter to become a volunteer fire fighter. Mr. Shelley has stated in your paper that he has asked to not be paid for any work he has done with the department from October 1 forward. This request does not in any way remove him from the designation of being a Paid on Call fire fighter, because there would now be a donation to some charity in his name, and he would still remain on the roster of the Fire Department. Mr. Shelley does not have the power to amend the bylaws for his situation wherein he will be the only volunteer fire fighter on the roster of the Harrison Fire Department.
I have nothing against Mr. Shelley on a personal level. Mr. Shelley is missing the point of my court petition. The petition is in regards to election protocol. It has nothing to do with Mr. Shelley, the Harrison Fire Department, Mr. Shelley’s career as a fire fighter, or my being a sore loser as Mr. Shelley paints me. Election protocol has been established for a reason. It is in place to safeguard our liberties and protect us from potential abuse of office with regards to conflicts of interest and or politicians gaining political advantages in office which might arise when established safeguards are not adhered to in our election process.