When West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country MP Blair Wilson joined the Green Party after the Liberal Party repeatedly refused to accept him back due to ethical concerns and questions about his business history, Wilson and May set about downplaying the circumstances that led to his being asked to leave the Liberal caucus, and then now being allowed back.
They both stuck to the line that he had been “largely” cleared of “major” wrongdoing by Elections Canada (actually, he admitted to three violations of the Elections Act, which doesn’t generally divide rules between must-follow and follow if you feel like it), glossing over the fact that it was his legal and business history, and the fact that he didn’t disclose a lot of pertinent information (including 23 lawsuits) during the nomination process, that led to his parting from the Liberals.
Here’s what he said in a statement:
The party's provincial "Green Light Committee", which vets all candidates, had earlier rejected Mr. Wilson candidacy based on personal information that was inaccurate and untested. He was not given an opportunity to defend himself before the committee and there was no appeal process.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. In a letter to the North Shore News yesterday two members of that Green Light Committee, Dean Crawford and Martin MacLachlans, set the record straight on the process around the vetting of Wilson and his disqualification as a Liberal candidate:
Our searches revealed that Wilson, or companies of which he was an officer or director, had been involved in as many as 23 legal proceedings that he had not disclosed on his nomination forms or at any time afterward. Based on our review, we concluded that Wilson was required to disclose most, if not all, of these proceedings on the nomination forms he filed with the Liberal Party but had failed to do so.
By failing to disclose those proceedings, however, Wilson denied the green light committee the opportunity to thoroughly assess his suitability as a candidate. Instead, we learned of a number of these proceedings when the general public learned of them -- by reading the newspaper.
And Wilson’s claim that “He was not given an opportunity to defend himself before the committee” appears to be false as well:
We provided Wilson a draft of our report and initially requested a response within two days, but offered an extension of time to respond if he needed it. Wilson did take the extra time and had nearly three weeks to comment on the draft report. He ultimately did make submissions to us through his lawyer, Jay Straith, and those submissions were taken into account before we completed the report.
The whole column is really worth reading as it brings some needed facts to the Wilson saga and puts the whole affair into context.
Wilson’s lack of forthrightness on the circumstances of his departure from the Liberal Party actually seems appropriate, though, as it’s indicative of the behaviour that led to his being asked to leave to leave the party in the first place. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers