Saanich’s chief electoral officer has asked the slate United for Saanich headed by Mayor Richard Atwell to “immediately” cease distribution of this election brochure. The slate has so far refused and plans to distribute it until Saanich has clarified its position.

Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell refuses to stop distribution of election brochure

The District of Saanich has asked United for Saanich to “immediately” stop distribution

An election brochure continues to generate controversy during the final days of the municipal election campaign in Saanich.

Mayor Richard Atwell — head of the United for Saanich slate — said Monday afternoon the District of Saanich needs to be clear about why the chief election officer has issued a notice that asks the slate to “immediately” discontinue the distribution of an election brochure titled Saanich Municipal Election Handbook.

“Please note that this document may be perceived as being issued by the District of Saanich,” said Angila Bains, Saanich’s chief election officer in a letter to United for Saanich in the middle of last week. “This notice is for United for Saanich and its candidates/official agents to discontinue the distribution immediately. As previously discussed with you all, the District of Saanich does not endorse any candidates nor does it allow for Saanich corporate branding in any candidate election materials.”

Atwell said Monday United for Saanich has yet to receive any response from the municipality about the reasons behind the notice.

Atwell last week called the charges vague. “The election officer has not stated with any specific examples what the problems are,” he said last week, noting that the brochure does not feature the municipality’s logo, contact information, or colour scheme as part of its branding.

RELATED: District of Saanich tells mayor’s slate to stop flyer distribution

Since Saanich issued the notice against United for Saanich, the brochure has appeared at an all-candidates meeting hosted by Saanich Neighbourhood Place Sunday, among the campaign literature that candidates could display attending the event.

Atwell said the brochure appeared at that event, because it is “compliant” and Saanich refuses to say what is specifically wrong with it.

“Until Saanich responds and clarifies its position, we will continue to follow the guidance of Elections BC,” he said, adding that the slate will also distribute the brochure at the last all-candidates’ event Tuesday, unless Saanich clarifies its complaint.

Patrick James, a compliance specialist with Elections BC, said last week that the brochure complies with Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA). But he also said Elections BC does not facilitate municipal elections and only administers compliance with the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act (LECFA) when it comes to municipal elections. The LECFA does not regulate the content of elections advertising, apart from requiring an authorization statement, he said.

RELATED: Saanich group wants to break mayor’s slate

The Saanich News has made several requests to the District to detail its reasoning behind the notice, but has not received a formal response.

It is also unclear how the District plans to respond to an email that one of Atwell’s rivals — Coun. Fred Haynes — has sent to Sonia Santarossa, Saanich’s deputy election officer, in which he raised the on-going presence of the brochure.

“This presents a growing concern,” he said. “There are additional all candidate events this week. These materials are recognized by your office to misrepresent the official position of Saanich. They are seen to be deceptive and deceiving the voters. This issue is especially a concern for senior citizens. This weekend, we have heard repeated accounts of seniors believing this is an official election recommendation from Saanich.”

The District of Saanich has also not yet responded to this latest development.

When asked about the letter, Atwell said that United for Saanich is “campaigning on a positive message of change to move Saanich forward.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Municipal electionSaanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Saanich council seeks more information after hearing Uptown-Douglas plan

Council asks for further reports on economic, housing, transportation plans for corridor

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Victoria police seize replica handgun and bullets

Unrelated call leads police to functional replica

Flaming object thrown through Victoria restaurant window

Police looking for any witnesses to early-morning incident

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Most Read