Yukon NDP calls on gov't to rescind Tamara Goeppel appointment

NDP leader Liz Hanson says in light of Elections Act charges against former Liberal candidate Tamara Goeppel, Goeppel should be removed from a board she was appointed to January.

NDP leader Liz Hanson says government should remove former Liberal candidate from government board

Liz Hanson said a written release that Tamara Goeppel's 'political' appointment to a government board should be rescinded in light of Elections Act charges against Goeppel. (CBC)

Yukon NDP leader Liz Hanson is calling on the territory's Liberal government to rescind Tamara Goeppel's "political appointment" to a government board.

Goeppel, who ran for the Liberal Party in the Whitehorse Centre riding in the 2016 election, has been charged with three counts of violating the Yukon Elections Act.

They are two counts of aiding or abetting persons in making proxy applications that were not in accordance with Section 106 of the Act and one count of inducing persons to falsely declare on proxy applications that they would be absent from the Yukon during the hours fixed for voting.

Section 106 was repealed in 2015, with the provision that the 2016 election would be the last time it applied.

In a short written statement Hanson said "the right to vote is at the core of our democratic values, and allegations that someone manipulated that right should be taken extremely seriously. I have the utmost confidence that Yukon's judicial system will be a fair arbiter of this case.

"In light of the political nature of these charges, we hope the Liberal government will rescind [Goeppel's] political appointment, made on 1 January 2017, as chair of the Central Yukon Assessment Review Board until such time as this matter is resolved."

The board hears and adjudicates property assessment complaints and ensures that assessments are fair and accurate.

Premier Sandy Silver said in a written statement that it's important to uphold the Elections Act. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)
Late Thursday afternoon, Premier Sandy Silver released his own short written statement, but did not address the issue of Goeppel's appointment.

"We are aware that the Whitehorse RCMP has concluded its investigation, and that this matter will now proceed through Yukon Territorial Court," the release said.

"This is a very serious matter. It is important that the Yukon Elections Act is upheld and that the rights of voters are protected."

Goeppel is scheduled to appear in Yukon territorial court on Feb. 28.

The charges stemmed from a downtown resident who said during last fall's election campaign that he was asked by Goeppel to cast a proxy ballot for someone he did not know. He said Goeppel told him the person felt too "intimidated" to vote.

Goeppel said during the campaign she was trying to help 'vulnerable' people vote. (Paul Tukker/CBC)
Goeppel told CBC she was working with vulnerable people downtown and trying to make their voice heard.

"They don't vote especially, not regularly, yet their plight is something that is very close to my heart," she said.

The RCMP said they received correspondence during the campaign from Yukon's Chief Electoral Officer regarding possible offences under the act. They said the charges are the result of their investigation.

Goeppel was defeated in the Whitehorse Centre riding by Hanson.

The punishment for offences under the Elections Act are fines of not more than $5,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than one year.