Charges filed against P.E.I. Liberals and Greens over provincial election signs

The P.E.I. Liberal Association and the Green Party of P.E.I. have been charged under the province's Election Expenses Act.

Parties charged under the Election Expenses Act

The P.E.I. Liberal Association is facing charges of advertising candidates who were not yet registered, during the 2019 provincial election. The P.E.I. Green Party is also facing a charge under the Election Expenses Act. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

The P.E.I. Liberal Association and the Green Party of P.E.I. have been charged under the province's Election Expenses Act.

Charges have been filed against the parties following investigation into complaints over signs in the spring provincial election campaign. 

The complaints centred on when signs went up, and not having the proper authorization markings.

Elections P.E.I. investigated the complaints, and turned its findings over to the Crown in April. While Elections P.E.I. has received complaints about signs in the past, it said this is the first time it has sent sign violation complaints to the Crown attorney's office. 

'Differing interpretation' say Liberals

The Liberals are facing six counts, all related to advertising candidates before they were officially registered. According to court documents, the party advertised candidates who were not yet registered in Summerside, Tyne Valley, Charlottetown, New Haven, Belfast and Stratford. The alleged offences took place between March 26 and 28.

In a statement to CBC, interim party president Marilyn Lowther said the "allegations are the direct result of a differing interpretation between Elections P.E.I. and the P.E.I. Liberal Association." 

"It is in no way a reflection of the quality of work done by our many dedicated volunteers to whom the party remains sincerely grateful."

Green Party will plead guilty

The Green Party is facing one count, for using an election sign that did not make reference to the "official agent" and the party or candidate authorizing the advertisement. 

According to court documents, that sign was in the community of Long Creek, which is located in the electoral district of New Haven-Rocky Point.

In a statement to CBC, party president Martin Ruben said some signs "were inadvertently printed without this information."

"We have acknowledged our responsibility for this oversight and have agreed with the Crown prosecutor to plead guilty when the matter comes up in court."

Contravening the Election Expenses Act can carry a fine of up to $1,000. 

A court date is set for Nov. 1. 

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