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HomeBusinessLawsuit seeks delay in crowning new BC Liberal leader

Lawsuit seeks delay in crowning new BC Liberal leader


Bob Mackin

A BC Liberal Party member is asking a B.C. Supreme Court judge to delay the announcement of the party’s new leader by 15 days, so that a thorough membership audit can take place.

BC Liberal member Vikram Bajwa

“Throughout the course of the leadership election, various party members have made allegations of voting irregularities, including outright voter fraud,” said businessman Vikram Bajwa’s Feb. 1 petition. “These allegations have attracted media attention, to the detriment of the party.”

The filing, by lawyers Greg Allen and David McEwan, names the party, its president Cameron Stolz, leadership election organizing committee co-chairs Colin Hansen and Roxanne Helme and others. 

BC Liberal members vote online or by phone from Feb. 3-5 on a ranked ballot. Bajwa’s lawyers have scheduled a Feb. 4 short-notice hearing at the Law Courts in Vancouver. 

In the court papers, Bajwa said he wrote the party Jan. 26, asking it determine which members are properly entitled to vote, to release details about the pre-vote audit and any violations detected. He also demanded the leadership vote be postponed pending a thorough audit, but the party responded Jan. 27 and declined to take any steps.

“Permitting voter fraud, or even the appearance of voter fraud (particularly on the eve of a vote) is antithetical to the precepts of democratic governance,” said Baja’s petition.

On Jan. 6, revealed that managers for five of the seven candidates claimed the election could be tainted by thousands of illegitimate memberships. Many of the memberships were sold by representatives of frontrunner Kevin Falcon. 

From the Jan. 18 BC Liberal leadership debate (BC1)

Bajwa wants the court to declare the current membership audit incomplete and the party in breach of its constitution and the leadership election rules. Bajwa also wants the party to show the candidates and membership all documents about the current audit and details on what steps have been taken against any coordinated voter fraud.

“In sum, the mere fact that the party and the leadership are content to allow the leadership vote to proceed, given the significant and as of yet unaddressed allegations, cannot be reconciled with the basic rights of members as set out in the constitution.”

Bajwa ran for mayor of Surrey in 2011 and 2014 and was briefly a candidate for the BC Liberal leadership in 2017.

Bajwa’s petition came the day after revealed that candidate Michael Lee’s campaign manager wrote a scathing email to party brass. Diamond Isinger alleged the election is ripe for corruption, because any member outside B.C. can vote, IP addresses and virtual private networks won’t be limited, and there is no allowance for the candidates to send scrutineers until after voting is finished. 

“In this metaphor, the online voting systems will allow Joe Voter to walk in the (virtual) door of the polling station as many times as he wants and allow Susie Voter to vote on behalf of as many people as she wants, with no ability for campaigns to be made aware of this,” Isinger wrote.

“Similarly, someone could phone the helpdesk from her cell phone 100 times to cast 100 votes over the course of a day and this would not be disclosed to campaigns, nor are we being provided with the ability to proactively scrutineer those call logs.”

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