A civil motion to reverse the results of the Oct. 24 municipal election and a subsequent recount – both of which determined that candidates Andre Proulx and Chiew Chong tied for the final seat on council – may not be ruled upon until after a byelection scheduled in March, though it may be resolved earlier.
The motion, filed by Chong, was adjourned to April 15 in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Thompson Feb. 11, but a hearing may be held Feb. 19 in Winnipeg, presided over by Justice Herbert Rempel, the judge who conducted the judicial recount.
Proulx and Chong each received 1,008 votes on election night. The recount found that each had received 1,009 valid votes.
Under Manitoba’s municipal elections law, a byelection must be held when two or more candidates tie with the same number of votes for an available office.
Election results can be challenged on three grounds: that an elected candidate was not eligible to hold office at the time they were elected; that there were irregularities in the election or acts constituting offences under that act, such as inducing someone to vote a particular way through bribery or coercion, or removing a ballot from a voting place; and on the basis that there were irregularities in the vote or acts considered election offences that affected the result of the vote.
The Thompson Citizen attempted to find out the grounds for Chong’s motion but the court file containing them had already been sent to Winnipeg and Chong’s lawyer declined to commonet on the matter while it is still before the court.
Court challenges can be dismissed by the court at any time if they are deemed frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith. Among the remedies the court may impose if a challenge of an election is successful is a declaration that an election was invalid and that the office in question is now vacant or that another candidate is duly elected.
A court decision on a challenge of the results of an election may be appealed to the court of Appeals within seven days of the decision being handed down.