Pictou County councillor charged under Municipal Election Act
An investigation was launched following the October 2020 municipal election in Trenton, N.S.
Police in New Glasgow, N.S., have laid two dozen charges against a Pictou County councillor in relation to alleged misconduct during the Town of Trenton's municipal election last year.
New Glasgow Regional Police said Peter Boyles is facing 24 charges under the province's Municipal Election Act.
Half of the offences involve voting knowing that he did not qualify, and the rest involve violating the municipality's voting bylaws.
"There was a lengthy investigation and investigating under the Municipal Elections Act is not a common thing," said Const. Ken MacDonald, spokesperson for New Glasgow police.
The investigation was launched after a complaint was laid about Boyle's activities during the October 2020 municipal election in Trenton, N.S.
Boyles was acclaimed in his district in the Municipality of Pictou County, but was helping Don Hussher, his half-brother, run for mayor of Trenton.
Charges allegedly involve 12 voters
At the time, Boyles told CBC News he had let a few seniors in a Trenton nursing home use his phone to e-vote, but stopped after meeting with a returning officer.
Hussher defeated the incumbent, Shannon MacInnis, by 62 votes.
New Glasgow police said the charges against Boyles involve 12 different voters over a two-week period, between Oct. 4 and Oct. 17, 2020.
Stephanie MacKinnon, a resident of Trenton who campaigned for MacInnis, thinks Hussher should step down.
"It's disheartening that something like this would happen," said MacKinnon, "It was a close race and there were only two of them, so I would hope our current mayor would do the honourable thing."
In an emailed statement on Monday, Hussher said the allegations first came to his attention on Oct.14, three days before the 2020 election day.
12 votes have 'no bearing' on election results, says Trenton mayor
He said he and his official agent then met with the returning officer and her assistants. Hussher said his lawyer corresponded with the former CAO, as well as the solicitor for Trenton, on Oct. 20.
"With these allegations known and a 62 vote margin in the results no one initiated a protest under the Municipal Elections Act," Hussher wrote.
With 12 votes in question, Hussher said "it has no bearing on the election results."
Boyles declined to comment on the charges against him.
Meanwhile, the warden of Pictou County, Robert Parker, did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
If Boyles is convicted, he could face a fine and lose his council seat. Boyles will be arraigned on the charges at Pictou provincial court on Oct. 4.
- An earlier version of this story attributed a quote to the mayor of Pictou. In fact, it was the mayor of Trenton. The story has been updated.Aug 10, 2021 8:44 AM AT