On July 13, political history will be made in Nova Scotia.
For the first time ever, a registered political party will be fighting for its own very existence. This is all due to a small, honest mistake made during the registration process in 2016 by both the Party and Elections Nova Scotia (ENS), and the staunch refusal by the Party’s former leader, Jonathan Dean, to rectify the mistake.
The Nova Scotia Elections Act allows for a hearing after a registered party has been suspended (Nova Scotia Elections Act. 2016. S. 185(2)(3), pp. 107-108). The point of this hearing is to allow for an opportunity for the party to prevent deregistration.
We were fully prepared for a public forum in which to defend our right to exist, or at the very least, a hearing that would be on the public record. We also envisioned a situation where a fair and neutral arbiter would hear and rule on our case. We were completely confident that we would be 100 percent vindicated.
While we remain very confident that our suspension will be overturned and allow us to continue to fight for our and your principles, we were shocked to be notified by ENS that the “hearing” will consist of the Party making a private case to the Chief Electoral Officer who will have sole discretion to rule on our existence. We believe this sets a dangerous precedent against democracy and transparency in Nova Scotia.
While we can’t thank ENS enough for all of the hard work they’ve done with us and for us, we strongly urge that all parties in this province push for clear parameters to be added to the Act to ensure that a public hearing overseen by a fair and neutral arbiter is guaranteed for such a situation in the future.
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