Elections officer holds firm on by-election despite Mayor's concerns
In a recent Facebook post from Pointe-Claire's Mayor Tim Thomas, he expressed concerns about the location of the upcoming by-election in District 1, located in proximity to the village to be held at City Hall, north of Highway 20. The Mayor allegedly received complaints about hosting the elections out of the district while the elections returning officer, Me. Caroline Thibault claims she has not heard any such objections. Pointe-Claire city directors also sent a letter in support of the returning officer (below).
"I believe it would have been particularly important to have one (local polling station) for next month's by-election," stated Thomas in the Facebook post, "considering that only the residents of our district will be voting and that the late Winter/early Spring weather may make it even more difficult for some residents, particularly seniors and those with reduced mobility or who do not drive, to get out and vote. Turnout at by-elections is often low, and my sense is that this choice of location will depress it even further and exclude many voters. "
While the returning officer did not echo the concerns raised, her disgruntled letter to the Mayor indicated that he was undermining the credibility of the process by using Facebook to express his concerns.
"My decision was made within the powers that are devolved to me, as the returning officer by the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities," stated Thibault in an email to the Mayor. "During this election period, or at any time, for that matter, you have no authority over my decision-making. You should know that by raising doubts about the credibility of the returning officer, you are attacking the integrity of the electoral process and thereby hindering the work of an election official. Your behaviour is a breach of the ethical rules Council has adopted through the By-law respecting the adoption of a code of ethics and good conduct for the elected municipal officials of the city of Pointe-Claire PC-2935. Furthermore, your conduct constitutes a flagrant contravention of Section 633(6) of the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities."
There are several contenders up for the vacant seat left by former councillor Erin Tedford on January 10, 2023. Tedford also posted to her social media when she resigned as Councillor for District 1, citing that the decisions on the council did not reflect her values.
The following are the various posts and communique regarding this issue: