Greens face imminent deregistration

green-watsonThe Green Party of Nova Scotia, and riding associations for the Greens and two other recognized parties, face imminent deregistration under the Elections Act for failing to publish audited financial statements for the last fiscal year as required by law.

Dana Philip Doiron, communications director for Elections Nova Scotia, confirmed that Chief Electoral Officer Christine McCulloch will file her annual report under the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act (MPED) Tuesday, and deregistration could follow shortly thereafter.

“Sometimes [the report’s release is] a ho-hum event, and Frank is the only one interested,” Doiron said “In this particular case the report will be looking at compliance for reporting, and that report will be interesting.”

The Elections Act requires McCulloch to give 30-days written notice of impending deregistration for non-compliance, which Doiron said she had done in the case of the Green Party and riding associations for it and two other parties. Currently the only other registered parties are the Liberals, the Progressive Conservatives, and the New Democrats. Doiron refused to say which riding associations were at risk.

MPED requires various kinds of disclosure by registered parties, but only one, failure to publish audited financial statements, carries a penalty: deregistration. The Elections Act gives the Chief Electoral Office the discretion not to deregister a party  if she “is satisfied that the recognized party has rectified the contravention, or will rectify it within thirty days of the hearing, and the recognized party does rectify the contravention.”

Doiron said the required notice had been given in every case, and deregistration could come quickly.

Green Party leader Ryan Watson did not respond to an email, nor did the party’s managing director Patrick Webber respond to phone calls. Veteran lefty gadfly Michael Marshall, Green candidate in Eastern Shore in the June 9 election, circulated an open letter criticising the party executive for not posting the audited statements on the party’s website and not holding an Annual General Meeting as required  by the party constitution.

Marshall said an unnamed member of the executive had prevented the party for achieving a quorum by refusing to attend, thus preventing the meeting from taking place.

David Croft, Green Party candidate in Dartmouth South-Portland Valley, described Marshall’s complaints as valid and said his own continued participation in the party would depend on their being rectified.

Doiron said the acts, which he described as “a bit of a work in progress,” is silent on the process by which a deregistered party may regain official status.