Manitoba

Court hears cross-examination of challenge to Manitoba Tory leadership vote

The president of the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives is defending a vote that saw Premier Heather Stefanson become leader of the party as her rival challenges the outcome in court.

Shelly Glover's campaign wants judge to order a new vote

Tuxedo MLA Heather Stefanson, left, beat former Conservative member of Parliament Shelly Glover in the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba's leadership race in October. The matter is in court this week with lawyers cross-examining affidavits filed in the case. (John Woods/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

The president of the Manitoba Progressive Conservatives is defending a vote that saw Premier Heather Stefanson become leader of the party as her rival challenges the outcome in court.

Tom Wiebe says a spreadsheet sent out the morning of the election was never intended to be the final tally of votes and campaign leaders were aware.

Shelly Glover, who lost last month to Stefanson by a small margin, has alleged there were irregularities when ballots were counted and wants a judge to order a new vote.

Glover, her scrutineer and two other supporters have filed affidavits to back her claim.

The Progressive Conservative party has also filed documents saying the election was fair.

Those affidavits are being cross-examined this week in Court of Queen's Bench, then Glover's case is scheduled to be argued before a judge on Dec. 10.

Glover, a former member of Parliament and police officer, came up short with 49 per cent of the ballots in the Oct. 30 vote. When the results were announced, the ballots totalled 16,546, with Stefanson winning 51 per cent.

Glover alleges her team was given a spreadsheet in the morning with a smaller tally of total votes.

One of the people acting as a vote scrutineer for Glover's team, in an affidavit, says he saw unsecured ballot boxes being moved out of the room where votes were counted.

Wiebe defended the election count and said "that spreadsheet was ... strictly to tell them who had voted."

In another affidavit, a partner at a chartered professional accounting firm that helped conduct the vote says ballot boxes were removed after the counting was complete.

The ballots were then taken to a vehicle, guarded by a security firm, and taken back to a secure room in the accounting firm's offices, the affidavit states.

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