Nova Scotia

Court rules Cole Harbour election candidate can run

An employee with the Halifax Regional Municipality has won the right to run for council in the municipal election later this month.
Angela Jones hammers in a sign in District 4 Cole Harbour-Westphal. (CBC)

An employee with the Halifax Regional Municipality has won the right to run for council in the municipal election later this month.

"I'm going to start campaigning right away, hitting the streets," said Angela Jones as she walked out of the courtroom Wednesday morning.

Jones, who is on parental leave from her job as a city solicitor, was disqualified from the election three weeks ago after she submitted her nomination papers to run in District 4 — Cole Harbour-Westphal.

The city's returning officer and the Chief Administrative Officer disqualified her, saying she didn't apply for leave from her job in time.

Jones argued the returning officer did not have the authority to remove her from the ballot and that a request for leave from an existing leave was unnecessary.

On Wednesday, Justice Arthur J. LeBlanc agreed the returning officer did not have the jurisdiction to disqualify Jones. But LeBlanc also ruled that being on parental leave did not exempt Jones from having to apply for additional leave to run for office. He agreed with the CAO's decision not to grant that leave retroactively.

'I fought for my rights'

That ruling means if Jones wins the election in District 4, she could be open to further litigation.

Jones said that scenario isn't something she's worried about right now.

"I'm a candidate and I'm going to fight to win," she told reporters.

"I'm looking forward to pursuing the campaign. I fought for my rights, I knew it was incorrect and I'll fight for the people of Cole Harbour the same way I fight for my own rights."

There are now three candidates for District 4, Cole Harbour-Westphal: Jones, Lorelei Nicoll and Barry A. Smith.

"The Supreme Court was the only body with jurisdiction to resolve this matter. The election office accepts the decision of the court," Cathy Mellett, the returning officer for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said in a statement.

"Voters in District 4 Cole Harbour-Westphal will be fully informed of the candidates and voting options available to them."

Election day for municipalities across Nova Scotia is Oct. 20.