View Royal mayor wants ban on seeking office in multiple jurisdictions

View Royal Mayor David Screech says he hopes the province will change legislation to bar any individual from seeking elected office in more than one jurisdiction.

The idea has the backing of 60 per cent of municipal leaders who voted at the recent meeting of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, but a significant 40 per cent mistakenly believed the aim was to prevent candidates from running anywhere but their home jurisdiction, he said Wednesday. “And, of course, we’re not.”

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Screech called changing the legislation “a relatively small housekeeping matter that would seem to make perfect sense.”

B.C. and Manitoba are the only two provinces that allow people to run in more than one jurisdiction in the same election, and Screech said it’s important to stipulate that candidates pick a community and run to represent it.

The View Royal resolution was not aimed specifically at David Shebib, 71, a Saanich garbage hauler who ran in all 13 capital region municipalities in last November’s municipal elections, he said. He did note that Shebib’s behaviour at all-candidates meetings was disruptive. In another election, one candidate ran in both Colwood and Langford as “a lark,” Screech said.

Shebib, meanwhile, isn’t done running or at least trying to run.

He’s preparing a Federal Court challenge to requirements that a candidate pay a professional accountant as an “auditor” before being allowed to file nomination papers to run in the Oct. 19 federal election.

Shebib said he cannot afford the fee, thus interfering with his Charter rights, specifically the right of every Canadian citizen to vote for a candidate for the House of Commons “and to be qualified for membership therein.”

In his draft documents, he names Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, government leader Peter Van Loan and Victoria Beacon Hill returning officer Margot Briggs.

Shebib said he was not allowed to run because he did not have the $100 filing fee — increased from $50 in the last federal election.

Shebib said it should be enough for him to sign an affidavit that he is without funds, along the lines of provisions that waive court fees for the indigent.

“If you don’t believe in money, you don’t have validation in today’s politics,” he said in an interview Wednesday.

He questioned why a prospective federal candidate needs his or her nomination validated by a professional such as an accountant.

Shebib said he approached about 30 chartered public accountants without finding one willing to get involved with his nomination papers.

“They said they do not want to put themselves in the limelight of backing someone who is radical or different.”

Why can’t a plumber sign a statement affirming nomination papers are in order, he asked. “It seems like we have a sewage problem in Ottawa and it needs a good flush.”

kdedyna@timescolonist.com

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