Watson’s Greens blow another chance for redemption

At the risk of sounding like a Green Party blog, today’s news has to be disheartening for those adherents who have tried to get the party back on track. After the break, an email from Elections Nova Scotia Communications Director Dana Philip Doiron describes the outcome of a meeting this morning in which Chief Electoral Office Christine McCulloch gave outgoing party leader Ryan Watson and official agent Kathryn Herbert one last chance to demonstrate that the party can meet its legal obligations.

The meeting was inconclusive.  The CEO wanted to hear that the party leader and the official agent understood the implications of failing to be accountable and how the party had organized itself to meet its obligations under the Act.  She wasn’t assured that the they had actually made any changes that would make a difference.

The party’s candidates must file individual reports on election  spending by August 18th and the party must file a similar report on its election expenses in October.    Mr. Watson and Ms Herbert indicated that the Party will hold its annual meeting in October and that neither will stand for re-appointment.

Ms McCulloch has not made a decision to confirm party status; the party is still under review.

So Ryan is now putting off the AGM (supposed to have been held by last March 31, under the party constitution) until October, when the new administration will have little or no time much time to get the party’s act in order. It’s almost as if Ryan wants to make sure that if he can’t run the party, there won’t be a party for anyone else to run.

In 2007-08 and 2008-09, as the province transitioned to a new Elections Act, recognized parties (including the Greens) received a lump sum of $125,000 plus 90¢ for each vote vote received in the 2006 election.  For the Greens, this totalled about $267,000. A new party today would not receive that funding.

The Elections Act offers no clear procedure for a de-registered party to regain official status. The party could re-form under a new name, but it would not receive the same windfall csh infusion.Doiron again:

Any new party would be required to field at least ten candidates in the following election to retain party status and would be eligible for funding under the provisions (of the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act) that give parties $1.50/vote received by each candidate. So, they would not receive any public funding for five years or so.

The real question is what would happen to the funds in the Green Party’s bank account.

Check that. The real question is why Watson’s team, having bollocksed things up so badly, wants to hold off an AGM so long. With the NDP adhering closely to the center, with little sign of a serious green agenda, a lively Green Party could make some waves in Nova Scotia.