A Vernon woman’s bid to have Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu recalled has passed the first step.
A recall petition, initiated by Genevieve Ring, will be issued in the riding after Elections B.C. received a petition application from Ring that met the requirements of the Recall and Initiative Act.
Under the Act, any registered voter in British Columbia can apply to have a recall petition issued for their electoral district. They must submit an application form, a $50 processing fee, and a statement of 200 words or less on why they feel the member should be recalled.
Applications must be approved if these legislated criteria are met. Elections B.C. does not have discretion to evaluate applications on any other criteria.
The petition will be issued on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, at which time registered canvassers may begin collecting signatures. The petition must be returned to Elections BC no later than Oct. 11.
For the petition to be successful, registered canvassers must collect signatures from 40 per cent or more of the voters eligible to sign the petition, or 21,268 voters. To be eligible to sign the petition, an individual must be a registered voter, and must have been registered to vote in Vernon-Monashee on Oct. 24, 2020 (general voting day for the last provincial election in B.C.).
There are currently no registered canvassers for this petition.
In her application, Ring said “Harwinder Sandhu has done nothing to mitigate the effects of the government actions employed under COVID-19 mandates,” and wants the first-term MLA recalled.
Ring said the Vernon-Monashee riding is “experiencing a crisis in access to health care, re, family doctors, oncology and laboratories.”
She also said COVID “poses no significant risk to school-age children, and the NDP government forced these students to wear masks for the full academic day, even though masks have proven harmful for the physiological, psychological and social development of children.”
Ring states the NDP has “historically attacked religion,” and used COVID as an excuse to keep religious people from their right to assemble freely. She also said small businesses had to close, people lost their savings and that many workers were “put on unpaid leave,” which, the petition reads, “has no legal basis.”
The Morning Star has reached out to Sandhu for a comment.
The expenses limit for both the proponent (Ring) and the member (Sandhu) is $37,046.52.
After the petition is submitted, Elections B.C. has 42 days to verify that those who signed the petition were eligible to do so.
In the event of a successful recall petition, the recalled member’s seat becomes vacant and a by-election must be called within 90 days. The recalled member can run as a candidate in the by-election.
The Chief Electoral Officer has approved 26 previous recall petitions since the Recall and Initiative Act came into force in 1995. Six of those petitions were returned to Elections B.C. for verification. Of the six, five did not have enough valid signatures and one was halted during the verification process because the member resigned.