Dalton checking recall list

Liberal MLA makes FOI request to Elections B.C.

Marc Dalton

Marc Dalton

Recall organizers will never know exactly how many people signed on in the trial exercise of firing an MLA.

Neither will Elections B.C., who told the Maple Ridge FightHST group it won’t bother counting the sheets but instead will just pack them into boxes and put them into storage.

But Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton will know who and how many people signed against him and voted to recall him under the Recall and Initiative Act.

He’ll be reviewing the petition sheets once Elections B.C. has processed the files, “just to get an idea of was happening there with the recall petition.

“Just to help verify.

“I’d just like to see what’s happening out there. I really haven’t thought through what I’d like to do.

“That’s within my right,” he said Tuesday.

Dalton said he made a Freedom of Information request and was told by Elections B.C. that he can access the files, though he’s not sure if that’s possible for the general public.

Dalton sent out a release last week thanking people for not signing and pointed out that “of the relatively few people who did sign the petition, a significant number of them were under the impression that they were signing to get rid of the HST.”

He later added he heard that anecdotally and that there were a number people who had that impression.

“I’m not saying that everybody thought that.”

But regardless, the effort was falling short.

“The fact of the matter, they weren’t generating the numbers to recall. They were way short of anything possible.”

Most recent estimates were that between 2,000 and 2,500 people had signed the petition that required 14,882 names to start the recall process. But Dalton said with six weeks to go, the recall campaign couldn’t have made up the difference.

Dalton was one of 18 Liberal MLAs targeted under B.C.’s recall legislation that required by-elections if the required number of names was collected.

Local organizers said they gave up on the recall campaign because they wanted to focus on the June 24 mail-in referendum on the HST.

Recall campaign organizer Wilf McIntyre says the group could have collected enough names to oust Dalton.

And he challenges Dalton’s statement that a significant number of people thought they were signing to get rid of the HST.

That’s false, said McIntyre. “We were very specific because we had to be.”

Elections B.C. told campaigners they had to be clear with people what they were signing.

“He’s got no proof of that whatsoever.”

McIntyre added that the I’m with Marc campaign were following Recall petitioners, “and not one of them raised an issue that we’re not doing things properly.”

McIntyre said his team never did a complete count of the names to find out exactly how many people signed for recalling the MLA. But he says there were 10 names to a sheet and more than 240 sheets were sent in.

Dalton says he still won’t debate FightHSTers on the tax because he said it would be too political, after earlier saying he would debate, if the recall efforts were dropped.

McIntyre doubted Dalton’s ability to do that anyways. “I’m not trying to run him down, I just don’t think he has the knowledge.

“He says one thing and does another. Now, off the record, most politicians do that anyways.”

McIntyre is happy with the mail-in ballot saying it was often used for International Woodworkers of America union voting and that the vote would get the 50 per cent needed to kill the HST.

B.C.’s credit rating could take a hit, if that happened Dalton said. He doubted there would be a general election in the province this spring with the referendum and the federal election ongoing.

Dalton also sent out new release announcing grants that municipalities get every year.

Maple Ridge is getting $541,000 from the Strategic Community Investment Fund, the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program, and unconditional grants to municipalities.