Manitoba Liberals lose 5 candidates in advance of provincial election

The Manitoba Liberal Party has lost yet another candidate in advance of the April 19 election.

Manitoba Liberals lose Joanne Levy, 4 other candidates as election nears

Manitoba Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari's team have had five candidates declared ineligible to run in the April election on Wednesday. (CBC)

The Manitoba Liberal Party has lost yet another candidate in advance of the April 19 election.

The party says its candidate in Gimli, Joanne Levy, has been disqualified by Elections Manitoba because she worked as an enumerator earlier this year.

The NDP filed a complaint about Levy earlier this week, saying her partisan activity broke the rules governing non-partisan enumerators.
Liberal Joanne Levy was accused by the NDP of violating the election law. (Courtesy of Joanne Levy)

The NDP accused Levy of engaging in "political partisan activity" during her time as an enumerator. Some of the concerns raised include pictures and articles she posted on her Facebook page about the Liberal Party while she was working for Elections Manitoba.

Levy said she received a letter from Elections Manitoba Wednesday afternoon saying she was being disqualified as a candidate because she was an enumerator in the 2016 election.

"It had nothing whatsoever to do with ... Facebook posts, or this notion that I was somehow an enumerator at the same time as being a candidate." Levy said.

According to the Elections Manitoba Act, a person can't be nominated as a candidate if he or she is an enumerator.

Levy said she thought she was in the clear because she had quit her job with Elections Manitoba before she was nominated as a candidate on March 14.

"It's a very broad section, I think it's too broad, I think there is no definition in the act of what an enumerator is, there's no definition of what or how an enumerator's job starts and how it finishes," Levy said. 

Levy said she's disappointed but she doesn't plan to fight the decision because she doesn't want to be a distraction for the Liberal Party.

"I want to put this behind me, although I'm a fighter and I don't like giving up, at the same time I have to be mindful there are some absolutely tremendous people running for the Manitoba Liberal Party."

Elections Manitoba has also rejected nomination forms from four other rural Liberal candidates because they didn't have proper addresses for some people who signed the forms.

The decision means the Liberals will not have a full slate of 57 candidates for the first time since 1999.

Liberal Leader Rana Bokhari says she is disappointed with the decisions and says she feels candidates are being disqualified on technical grounds.

Full statement from Joanne Levy 

"It is with profound regret that I announce the end of my campaign to be the Manitoba Liberal Party candidate for the Gimli Electoral District.  As you may know, acting on a complaint from the NDP, Elections Manitoba has investigated and revoked the certificate of acceptance of nomination issued on March 25.  It cites a section of The Elections Act that prohibits an enumerator from being nominated as a candidate.

Although I believed I ceased to be an enumerator once my duties were complete and my oath returned on February 28 that is not how Elections Manitoba interprets and enforces The Elections Act.

No matter how much good faith I brought to the process the bigger picture involves what is best for Manitobans.  I believe that means re-focusing on the Manitoba Liberal Party platform, the leader, Rana Bokhari, and the incredible team of candidates that are fighting in this election.  They need and deserve the voters attention and support.  I would do them a great disservice by prolonging distraction from their hard work.

And finally, I want to apologize to the voters of the Gimli Electoral District.  I was anxious to give them the choice of a Manitoba Liberal and I will not be able to do so."

With files from Canadian Press


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