1993 Legislative Session: 2nd Session, 35th Parliament

The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.


BILL M 204


Recall initiated by petition

1 (1) Any registered voter may, at any time following by at least 6 months the most recent general election or byelection for the electoral district in which the voter is registered, sponsor a petition requiring that a recall election be held in that electoral district.

(2) Every registered voter sponsoring a recall petition shall appoint another person, or succesive persons qualified to act as sponsor, to act in case of death or incapacity, and such person then so acting, shall be deemed to be the sponsor.

Election Act to apply

2 Except as specified in this Act, a recall election shall be held in accordance with the provisions of the Election Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, Chapter 103, governing the conduct of byelections.

Chief Electoral Officer to qualify petition

3 (1) Upon receipt of a recall petition initiated in due accordance with section 1 of this Act, appearing to contain the signatures of 20% or more of the registered voters in an electoral district, the Chief Electoral Oficer shall, within 60 days of receiving the petition, proceed to verify that at least 20% of the registered voters in the electoral district have signed the recall petition, and, upon being satisfied to that effect, shall declare the recall petition to be qualified, and shall so notify the sponsor of the recall petition, and the Member of the Legislative Assembly whose recall is sought, and shall forthwith initiate and conduct recall election in that electoral district.

(2) The Chief Electoral Officer shall notify the Member of the Legislative Assembly whose recall is sought, immediately upon receipt of a recall petition, provide the Member or his agent with a copy thereof, and shall allow the member or his agents to scrutinize the verification procedure.

(3) An appeal from the decision of the Chief Electoral Officer that a recall etition is or is not qualified lies with the Supreme Court of British Columbia, whose determination of the matter shall be final.

(4) Where a recall petition has not been found to be qualified, it may not be resubmitted until a number of names have been added to it as specified by the Chief Electoral Officer.

Content of a recall petition

4 A recall petition shall contain:

(1) The name, address, occupation, and political affiliation, if any, of the registered voter originally sponsoring the petition, and those of its drafter or drafters.

(2) A statement not exceeding 500 words setting forth the basis upon which the recall of the Member of the Legislative Assembly is sought,

(3) A sworn declaration not exceeding 500 words outlining the previous contacts and dealings between the registered voter originally sponsoring the recall petition and the Member of the Legislative Assembly whose recall is sought, or stipulating that there have been no such contacts or dealings.

(4) A statement that signing the petition shall not confer any liability for statements made in the petition, except for its sponsor and drafters.

(5) Adequate provision for the signatures, clearly printed names, addresses, occupations and telephone numbers of not less than 20% of the registered voters in the electoral district, and the date each signature was affixed.

For the purposes of this section, "political affiliation" means membership or the holding of office in, or employment by, a political party registered with the Chief Electoral Officer, or a trade union or other organization which is affiliated with such a party under the terms of its constitution or bylaws, and includes any such affiliation within the 12 months preceeding the drafting of the petition.

Protection for signers

5 No person shall be liable for any action in defamation on account of signing, circulating, publishing or broadcasting any of the contents of a recall petition other than the sponsor and drafters of the petition.

Member's rights not impaired

6 The full rights and privileges of a Member of the Legislative Assembly whose recall is sought shall continue unimpeded notwithstanding the qualification of a recall petition, unless and until a majority of valid votes are cast in a recall election to recall the Member.

Information circulars

7 (1) Within 60 days following the notification in Section 3, the sponsor of the recall petition and the Member of the Legislative Assembly whose recall is sought may file with the Chief Electoral Officer information circulars of not more than 1000 words each, setting forth grounds on which the Member should, or should not be recalled.

(2) Upon receipt of the information circulars, the Chief Electoral Officer shall cause one copy of each to be mailed to each registered voter in the electoral district as soon as may be reasonably practical, and in any event, not less than 14 days before the date set for the recall election.

(3) Such circulars shall be printed in identical format, on apparently identical stock, and mailed together.

(4) Information circulars may contain words, punctuation, and numerical text only.

(5) No person shall be liable in an action for defamation on account of the circulation, printing, mailing, publication or broadcast of the contents of an information circular referred to in this section, other than the person on whose behalf it is filed.

(6) The Chief Electoral Officer shall ensure that copies of the recall petition, other than the signatories' portion, and of the information circulars referred to in this section are available for inspection at each polling place during voting hours.

(7) The failure of one or more registered voters, or one or more polling places to receive a copy of a recall petition or of both information circulars shall not invalidate a recall election where there has been substantial impartial compliance with this section in the electoral district.

Form of ballot

8 The form of the recall ballot shall be equally prominent "YES" and "NO" captioned squares, on the same line, opposite the following question:

"having read both information circulars regarding this recall election, do you vote to remove "name of the Member" from the Legislative Assembly?" inserting the appropriate name instead of "name of the Member".

Effect of a "YES" majority

9 (1) Where a majority of valid votes cast in the recall election are "YES" votes, the Member's seat is deemed vacant, and the then former Member is not eligible to seek election in that electoral district at the next following byelection or general election, whichever first occurs.

(2) Where a general election is held before a byelection which would otherwise have been held as a result of a recall election, and the boundaries of the electoral district have been altered or abolished, the then former Member is not eligible to be a candidate in that general election in any electoral district inhabited portions of which were included in the former boundaries in which the recall election was held.

(3) Nothing in this Act bars the then former Member from seeking office in an election or byelection subsequent to those referred to in subsections (1) or (2), or, at any time, in another electoral district.

Effect of a "NO" majority or tie

10 Where a majority of valid votes cast in a recall election are "NO" votes, or in case of a tie, the Member is confirmed in office, and a recall petition with respect to the same Member may not be received, either on the same, or other grounds, during the balance his then current term.

Effect of an enumeration

11 Where an enumeration of voters in an electoral district is scheduled or underway at the time of, or following receipt of a recall petition by the Chief Electoral Officer, the enumeration shall not be considered for the purposes of qualifying the petition, but newly enumerated voters shall be eligible to vote in the recall election if they would otherwise be eligible to vote in a byelection in the electoral district held on the same date.

Saving provision

12 Subject to this Act, the Chief Electoral Oficer shall enact such rules as he deems reasonably expedient for the effective, impartial, and timely conduct of recall elections, including, but not limited to, the variation of relevant sections of the Election Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, Chapter 103.


13 (1) Violations of this Act, or rules made under it by the Chief Electoral Officer, are punishable on summary conviction, under the terms of the Offence Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, Chapter 305.

(2) Maximum penalties shall be as prescribed by regulation.

Expiry of petition

14 A recall petition which has not been filed with the Chief Electoral Officer within one year of its first signature, shall be deemed to have expired and to be void.

Cancellation of recall election

15 The Chief Electoral Officer may cancel a recall election where the Member whose recall is sought has died or resigned before the date set for the recall election, or, where a Provincial General Election has been called.

Explanatory Notes

This Bill implements the results of Question A in the provincial referendum which was held on October 17, 1991, in conjunction with the 35th Provincial General Election:

"Should voters be given the right, by legislation, to vote between elections for the removal of their member of the Legislative Assembly?" which received the support of 1,090,023 voters, representing 80.89% of valid votes cast on the question.

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