Saturday, September 12, 2009

Attempt at Intimidation?

(Rimbey, AB) Elections Alberta warns critic of Bill-50 that he may be subject to a $100,000 fine and one year in jail.

On Friday Ms Lori Mckee-Jeske, acting Alberta Chief Electoral Officer, e-mailed, and then followed the e-mail with a phone call to Joe Anglin, the leader of the Lavesta Area Group and vocal opponent of Bill-50, stating that he may be subject to a $100,000 fine and/or one year in jail. Anglin said he was told the phone call was necessary to make him aware of the penalties just in case he had not read the letter. In the phone call Ms. Mckee-Jeske accused Mr. Anglin of misusing a list of electors in the Calgary by-election.

Anglin said, “I view the phone call as disturbing, and the letter as a feeble attempt to use Elections Alberta to coerce and intimidate the Lavesta Group into silence! I have documented significant examples of election wrong-doing from 2008 that Elections Alberta has yet to act upon. It is also well known that when former Chief Electoral Officer Lorne Gibson was critical of the PC government and recommended a number of actions to be taken, his contract was not renewed and he was effectively dismissed. Yet I am expected to believe that an unsubstantiated anonymous complaint warrants immediate attention from the Chief Electoral Officer, Ms. Mckee-Jeske, to issue a warning of disproportionate penalties.”

“The accusation is false and unsubstantiated! Neither I nor the Lavesta Area Group is in possession of an Electoral List. We never had a list of electors! We have a receipt from Canada Post in our possession proving we paid for a general mail-out not dissimilar to what AltaLink has done with their general mail-outs. The only difference is AltaLink is in favour of building transmission lines that the public may not need. Had Ms Mckee-Jeske only confirmed this before she wrote the letter she could have saved herself some effort”

The Lavesta Area Group believes Anglin has been singled out on this issue because he has called Bill-50 the largest potential tax increase ever introduced, in the history of Alberta. Anglin doubts that AltaLink’s recent mass mailings, which are supportive of Bill-50, received the same treatment from Elections Alberta.

The Lavesta Area Group purchased a mass mailing on September 11, 2009 opposing the catastrophic electricity rate increases, when Bill-50 is passed. There was an anonymous complaint against Anglin for exercising his freedom of speech, and Elections Alberta has responded by menacing Anglin with a $100 K fine and one year in jail. The Lavesta Group doesn’t know the origin of the complaint; was it a-- Political Party -- the transmission industry? Elections Alberta will not disclose this information. Regardless, it is highly unusual and unheard of that a Chief Electoral Officer would investigate a complaint or confront an individual with an accusation. The responsibility of the Chief Electoral Officer is normally to evaluate the investigation (not conduct an investigation) and authorize on the discretion of that office to recommend charges.

Lavesta is unable to seek proper legal advice before Monday’s election, and to avoid the risk of arrest and prosecution has in light of the menacing conduct by Elections Alberta been distracted from full participation in the democratic process over the week-end. The Lavesta Area Group categorically denies any wrong-doing! We are unable to officially respond to the allegations before Monday’s election; however, we will be presenting a Canada Post receipt for the purchase of a mass-mailing in our defence. We view the anonymous complaint and the actions of Elections Alberta as a “Violation of our Canadian Charter of Rights” and an attack on our right to exercise “Freedom of Speech” in a democratic process.

For more information Contact

Joe Anglin

(403) 843-3279
Lavesta Area Group

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