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Two letters to Elections Canada

By Stuart Hertzog
September 13th, 2009

The Green Party counters my complaint, and my response

note: Although I sent my complaint to Elections Canada at 10:09PM on September 3, 2009, the only acknowledgement I received was an automated email message on minute later saying my email had been received. I sent my complaint by email to the address indicated on Elections Canada‘s web site as the correct one to use to register a complaint.

Receiving no response after a week had gone by, I telephoned Elections Canada to inquire whether my complaint had been received. A person who identified himself as Pierre who wouldn’t give me his family name, appeared puzzled that no reference number had been attached to the email. He called back a few moments later to find out to which numbers the faxes had been addressed, and promised to call back “the same day.” This did not happen.

I had also sent my complaint by fax to the toll-free number listed on Election Canada’s contact page. I now realise that there is another fax number for the Commissioner’s office, so today I‘ve resent both letters by fax to this number. They‘ve both gone, so the Commissioner should be well informed by now.

update: september 14— I have received a telephone call and an email from Elections Canada assuring me that all my emails and faxes had been received by the Commissioner’s Office and that I would be contacted “in due course.”

update: september 17— I have received an email containing a PDF of a letter to me from Election Canada’s legal counsel. The letter acknowledges receipt of all correspondence to date, and requested any specific details and documentation that would enable an assessment of my complaint.

Counsel noted that:

“We have brought to Ms. Johannson’s attention the question that may arise where a nomination contestant has more than one role in a registered party, in this case, party leader. The application of subsection 404.3(1) in such a situation becomes more complex.…

“It is possible, depending on the particular circumstances, that the availability of party resources to the leader who is also a nomination contestant may amount to a provision of goods or services within this subsection. All goods and services provided to one nomination contestant must be offered to all nomination contestants equally.”

This issue may take some time to resolve. As soon as the nomination contest is out of the way, I’ll start compiling the evidence.


The Green Party’s letter to the Commissioner

September 9, 2009
Commissioner of Canada Elections
c/o Elections Canada
257 Slater Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0M6

Dear Commissioner:

I am writing in response to the public letter sent to you on September 3, 2009 by Stuart Hertzog concerning the September 19, 2009 Green Party of Canada nomination contest in the electoral district of Saanich Gulf Islands.

Mr. Hertzog claims that funds have been transferred from the Green Party of Canada to a Green Party nomination contestant in Saanich Gulf Islands, contravening Section 404.3(1) of the Elections Act. I am writing to inform you that the Green Party of Canada is in full compliance with the Elections Act and absolutely no funds have been transferred to a nomination contestant.

The Green Party of Canada has transferred funds to the Saanich Gulf Islands Green Party Electoral District Association. No conditions were placed on the transfer of funds and the funds are under the control of the Saanich Gulf Islands Green Party Electoral District Association.  The Electoral District Association has rented an office in Sidney for use by the Electoral District Association. The office is not being used by a nomination contestant.

The Green Party of Canada and the Saanich Gulf Islands Green Party Electoral District Association are committed to ensuring that goods and services are offered equally to all nomination contestants. Towards that end, Mr. Hertzog has indeed been provided with a membership list of Green Party members in the electoral district.

Thank you for your time, and please know that I am happy to answer any further questions regarding this matter.


Catharine Johannson
Political Campaign Director
Green Party of Canada

cc. Dave Burrows, CEO, Saanich Gulf Islands Green Party EDA
     Stuart Hertzog, nomination contestant


My response to the Commissioner

Commissioner of Canada Elections
c/o Elections Canada
257 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0M6

Telephone: (800) 463-6868
Fax: (800) 663-4908
Toll-free Fax: (888) 524-1444
E-mail: commissionersoffice@elections.ca

September 11th 2009

Dear Commissioner,

re: letter to you from the green party of canada concerning the current nomination contest in saanich-gulf islands

I am responding to a letter sent to you on September 9th 2009 by Ms. Catharine Johannson, Political Campaign Director of the Green Party of Canada. This letter was written in response to my complaint to you dated September 3rd 2009.

In her letter, Ms. Johannson states that:

Mr. Hertzog claims that funds have been transferred from the Green Party of Canada to a Green Party nomination contestant in Saanich Gulf Islands, contravening Section 404.3(1) of the Elections Act. I am writing to inform you that the Green Party of Canada is in full compliance with the Elections Act and absolutely no funds have been transferred to a nomination contestant.

This is patently untrue. Ms. May is a nomination candidate along with myself and the funds were transferred to the EDA for use by her campaign for “pre-writ activities.” As this is a contested nomination election, these include her nomination campaign. The Green Party also has spent funds other than the money transferred directly to the EDA in support of Ms. May’s nomination as candidate in this EDA. It has paid for Ms. May to travel to the riding several times to prepare the ground for her candidacy and begin to campaign. It may have paid for and may still be paying for or is providing:

  • Travel and expenses of the volunteers working on Ms. May’s campaign, some of whom are members of the party’s Council or the party’s Campaign Committee;
  • The cost of Ms. May’s residence in the riding, which I understand may have been donated to the party by an individual, and if so would be considered a party resource;
  • Transporting and providing a collapsible backdrop and podium for Ms. May to make an ‘official’ announcement about her standing as a nomination candidate; and for
  • Cellphones and fax machines for Ms. May, her campaign manager, and volunteers.

If these expenses and party resources do exist and have been used in this way, I submit they are party funds and resources transferred unequally to a nomination candidate.

Conditions on the funds transferred to the EDA

In her letter, Ms. Johannson states that:

The Green Party of Canada has transferred funds to the Saanich Gulf Islands Green Party Electoral District Association. No conditions were placed on the transfer of funds and the funds are under the control of the Saanich Gulf Islands Green Party Electoral District Association.  The Electoral District Association has rented an office in Sidney for use by the Electoral District Association. The office is not being used by a nomination contestant.

I described in my complaint to you of September 3rd 2009 exactly how the decision was made to have Ms. May be the Green Party candidate in this riding; the transfer of funds and resources by the party through the EDA to her campaign; and the conditions given to the EDA for acceptance and specific use of these funds.

Ms. Johannson’s statement conflicts with the information I received directly from both Ms. May’s campaign manager and the EDA’s financial agent at all the EDA Board meetings I attended after signaling my intention to contest the nomination. It also conflicts with minutes of the party’s federal Council concerning its election strategy.

Control of the transferred funds rests only nominally with the EDA as it has been made clear that Ms. May’s campaign manager has sole authority on the use of these funds. The EDA’s financial agent simply signs the cheques after the invoices arrive.

Further, although Ms. May’s campaign office is described as not a campaign office, that is exactly how it is being used. It is not a Green Party community resource as has been suggested and the local merchants association does not wish to see it as such.

No equal provision of goods and services

In her letter, Ms. Johannson states that:

The Green Party of Canada and the Saanich Gulf Islands Green Party Electoral District Association are committed to ensuring that goods and services are offered equally to all nomination contestants. Towards that end, Mr. Hertzog has indeed been provided with a membership list of Green Party members in the electoral district.

I have already described how I have been denied equal access to party funds and goods. According to the party’s Nomination Procedures, I was supposed to receive without having to request it a copy of the membership list within 24 hours of being accepted as a nomination candidate. This did not happen, and I had to ask for the list several times, and ask again for a full list when only a partial list was provided to me. I received a more complete list only the evening of September 5th 2009 and have had to spend a lot of time extracting the information and manipulating it into a useable format.

However, Ms. May’s campaign has full access to the party’s official online membership database. The CiviCRM software that manages the database also allows users to send out emails instantaneously and easily to selected members. I have asked for but have not received equal access to the CiviCRM member database, and have had to spend time struggling to set up a similar resource on my own server. At this time, just a week away from the nomination election, I have yet to send out one email to members.

Not having access to the CiviCRM database has been a considerable handicap to me.

Time is of the essence in this matter

In conclusion, I respectfully submit that the Green Party of Canada has not supplied funds, goods, services, or party resources equally to myself and Ms. May in this EDA nomination contest, contrary to section 404.3 (1) of the Canada Elections Act. I ask you to investigate my complaint with all haste as time is of the essence in this matter.


Stuart Hertzog
Nomination Candidate,
Saanich-Gulf Islands Green Party EDA


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22 Responses

  1. Chris KN Says:

    You neglected to mention that the party is using the official party site (www.greenparty.ca) to publicize her nomination bid, and the party wrote a media release stating that she was running and neglected to even mention that it was being contested, let alone state your name. Have paid staff from the party offered to write you any media releases or give you space on the main page of the party website?

  2. Stuart Hertzog Says:

    Thank you, Chris. I hadn’t thought of that. Perhaps it can be brought forward if the Commissioner would decide to examine my complaint. I have received no offer of promotion or assistance of any kind from the Green Party. I did ask for access to the CiviCRM database, but this was not forthcoming. If it wasn’t for my having this blog and access to the media, I’m sure my candidacy would have been buried entirely.

  3. Dave Bagler Says:

    Stuart you’re hurting the party. Go away.

  4. Sebastian Ronin Says:

    Stuart, you’re hurting the party. Please stay.

  5. Dave Bagler Says:

    See Stuart, Sebastian has said that the worst thing to happen to green politics if the Green Party. You’re support comes from people who are opponents of the party.

  6. Stuart Hertzog Says:

    My Party Right Or Wrong, Dave? If a political party drifts away from its core philosophy then of course those who support the leadership will do their best to suppress any form of criticism, which is what’s happening here.

    But a party that cannot accept criticism from members, that distorts internal party democratic processes, and even plays fast and loose with the truth to ensure that the in-group retains power, is no different from the other Canadian political parties or any petty autocracy.

    I haven’t damaged the Green Party, Dave. It has been damaged by decades of drift away from fundamental Green principles, to the point that I wonder whether it still should be called a Green party.

    I’m not the only person to think this way. Many Greens have left the party in disgust at its anti-democratic, centralist tendencies. We need an improved democracy if we are going to achieve environmental protection and a just society. How can the Green Party claim to be different or offer a new model of democracy if it is simply an imitation of the status quo?

    To me, the decision to parachute Elizabeth May into Saanich-Gulf Islands represents everything that is wrong with Canadian democracy and the Green Party. That’s why I decided to stand against her at this time.

    And I don’t think Ms. May would win here if she were to be selected as the Green Party candidate. People just don’t like parachute candidates.

  7. John Ogilvie Says:

    Dave, if you want to make infantile comments, do so on your own blog. Oh right, you do… sorry.

    Stuart, it is essentially impossible to disentangle Elizabeth’s role as party leader from her role as nomination candidate. I’m not going to get upset about cellphones or even the party website.

    It looks like we have an election on our hands as early as next week. Stuart, unless you think you have a realistic chance of winning the nomination – which you do *not* – you should withdraw now.

    I’m repeating myself, I know. Your point – which I share deeply – has been made eloquently. Every day you continue this exercise detracts from the point. Elections Canada was too much, no question.

  8. Stuart Hertzog Says:

    Hi John. I see you have some history with Mr. Bagler. And so it goes….

    However, I disagree that it’s impossible to disentangle Elizabeth’s role as party leader from her role as nomination candidate. She is a nomination candidate along with myself, and according to the law, all nomination candidates must be equally receive party resources, whether they be in the form of funds, goods, or services.

    This simply has not been happening in this campaign. As I could see no relief coming from the party, I complained to Elections Canada about this, especially as it is possibly an illegal activity. A complaint must be filed within ten days.

    How else is grassroots candidate going to bring in check a party hierarchy that apparently is out of control and speeding as fast as it can away from Green political principles? Sometimes one has to appeal to a higher authority.

    I object to the Green Party Council’s decision to pour all its resources into getting the party leader, who is only supposed to be a spokesperson, elected at all costs and in this riding. I think it is a misguided strategy, and that it isn’t even going to work.

    I am hearing from many people that they don’t like the way Ms. May has bounced around looking for a seat, or her media-grabbing approach. So I don’t think she is going to win here even if she were to become the candidate.

    In the light of that, I believe that I would be a much more acceptable Green candidate to stand before the electorate, who are after all the final arbiters of who will go forward to Ottawa.

    I am an experienced environmental and political campaigner and have been receiving a lot of support for my principled stand on the defence of democracy. My candidacy is a serious one, and should not be discounted.

  9. John Ogilvie Says:

    Well said, Stuart, and I will not press my point again.

    I do bet to differ about who would be the better candidate for SGI, however. Pragmatically, Elizabeth comes with huge media profile AND a fully-funded campaign, day one. These are both Good Things for the SGI Greens. However they came to be.

    I don’t have any history with Dave, we’re both active up in Ottawa and get along fine 🙂

  10. Stuart Hertzog Says:

    Good to know! I must be getting a tad cynical these days.

  11. Sebastian Ronin Says:

    Re “My candidacy is a serious one, and should not be discounted.”

    Bravo, Stuart! It would seem to me that this very simple principle constitutes a blind spot for many, if not most, of your critics. To simply “discount” further sheds light on your critics’ arrogance and claims to automatic entitlement. It also happens to underscore the gist of your premise for allowing your name to stand. Every candidacy is a “serious one” and is the bedrock of what is understood to be democratic process.

    You have hit a nerve. Damn rights it’s serious!

  12. Constantine Kritsonis Says:

    It is completely clear to this long standing green party member that Start Herzog is planted by another political party as a nomination candidate. He uses the pretext of running to protest so called top down management( a normal friction in every party on the planet) to slime Elizabeth May. This in order to help his TRUE friends in either the NDP or Liberal ranks. The fact that the green party did not appoint May as the candidate and allowed Herzog his Jack-in-the-box candidacy facade is evidence of the green party inclusive principle – and perhaps naivety in dealing with paid assassins.

  13. Stuart Hertzog Says:

    Oh no! I’m busted! My real name is Start Herzog and I’m a Saurian agent from the Galactic Green Empire. How did you see through my disguise as a long-time Green? It took me 26 years to perfect it — all that effort wasted!

    Anyway, I didn’t even want to reincarnate as a human being on this Dog-Star-awful quarantine planet. You humans live nasty, brutish, and short lives and you seem to be dedicated to either killing yourselves or are busy trashing your home. You won’t be allowed into the Greater Galactic Community until you evolve some more, which right now seems unlikely.

    Let me tell you, Constantine, YOU AREN’T GOING TO GET ANOTHER PLANET after I report back to Galactic Council. No way! Fix this one or you will be exterminated. Them’s the rules, you silly, primitive humans.

  14. Erich Jacoby-Hawkins Says:

    Much as I hate to mis-place a comment, I don’t really have a choice.

    On your previous blog, Stuart, I posted a rather detailed, factual list drawn from the GPC constitution showing how the GPC is very different from the top-down, centralist, anti-grassroots (or whatever) structures of the other major parties. Rather than address or even acknowledge any of these facts, you just wrap up with “You and I are not going to agree, Erich, so there’s no point in my trying to convince you.” This isn’t a matter of difference of opinion – I’ve provided facts which refute your basic argument. You have not presented any facts to support yours – you just keep repeating vague accusations like “decades of drift away from fundamental Green principles”. When people call you on it and list factual counter-points, all you do is throw up your hands and say they somehow won’t understand your point, so why bother explaining it. (If you can’t explain your ideas even to other Greens, how good of a candidate could you be for the public?) At this point I really think the truth is you are basing your entire candidacy on “truthiness” rather than verifiable fact. (Here I’m talking about the structure of the GPC, not the facts around your spurious complaint to Elections Canada, which has it’s own divergence from reality).

    If it matters, I also posted a list of long-time practices which also differentiate the GPC from mainstream parties. Since these are actions rather than rules enshrined in our constitution, you blithely dismiss them as “procedural concessions”. Yet if the party acts in contradiction to its rules (according to you), you’ll happily hold that as a failing of the party. Do you not see the double standard? If the practice is good but the rule isn’t written, you dismiss it: GPC = bad. If the rule is good but the practice doesn’t match, then GPC = bad. You can’t have it both ways. Myself, I would say the proof is in the pudding and if long-time practices (like revenue-sharing, as one example) demonstrate grassroots principles, then that’s how the party should be judged. But either way (rule or practice) you have failed to make your case in the face of contrary evidence.

    You also, just before closing off comments, threw this at me: “You’re a centralist, Erich. But many people are rejecting the old centralist political parties,”

    You know what? I’m certainly NOT a centralist. If I were, then I’d be working for one of the old centralist political parties. The grassroots nature of the Greens is part of what drew (and still draws) me to the GPC. Supporting the Leader’s bid to run in a riding whose grassroots members have enthusiastically invited her to represent them no more makes me a “centralist” than wearing a red shirt last week made me a communist.

    I guess we’ll find out pretty soon how much of a “grassroots candidate” you really are when the true grassroots of SGI cast their nomination ballots. I think you (and Sebastian, and his 4 other supporters) are in for a rude surpise. Of course, you’ve already got that covered by blaming your loss on central party shenanigans. I suppose $62,000 gathering dust in an EDA bank account can really keep a guy down.

    And one last thing: you simultaneously attack Elizabeth for being a “parachute” or “foreign to the bioregion”, yet also attack her for having rented or bought a house there and living in SGI. When exactly does someone qualify as a local? I note that you were not born in the riding, bioregion, province, or even country where you now claim (implicitly) to not be “foreign”. Have you got an exact amount of time it takes for her to settle in and qualify? Does it not matter that she lives in the riding but you don’t? And dismissing her as only living there “temporarily” is irrelevant – no-one is forcing you to stay, you could move away tomorrow, too. If a person like you can become the grassroots representative of their ADOPTED bio-region, then so can Elizabeth May. No?

  15. Stuart Hertzog Says:


  16. Sir Says:

    Stuart, I thought you made a good point on the National last night. I thought these quotes from winner Elizabeth May were unclassy and unworthy of a National Leader.





  17. Stuart Hertzog Says:

    Thank you, Sir. Her dismissive attitude says it all.

  18. Line Merrette Says:

    The more this thing goes on and the more it reminds me of the Parti québécois “purs et durs” who were never happy with any leader who was in place and sabotaged everything the leader did. They periodically make a spectacle of themselves, much to the amusement of their opponents. That’s the last thing the GPC needs weeks away from an election. We have enough actual problems and don’t need to invent any others.

    I may not have been a member of the GPC for long but I’ve been green-minded and active for close to 30 years (I won’t mention any organizations as Mr. Hertzog will probably not find them “pure” enough). Purists are the ones who turn ordinary people away (and off!) from ecology. It is a sectarian attitude. And I don’t want the GPC to be a sect of purists. One has to begin somewhere.

    There is a thing that is called reality, you know and it exists even if purists find it inconvenient. They like to discuss endlessly about principles, structures and stuff but meanwhile nothing concrete (rien de concret, pardon my French) gets done. One has to strike a balance between structures and principles and GETTING THE JOB DONE.

    I hope (for you) you have ironclad proof of your accusations otherwise you might rightfully be sued for defamation (read the Criminal Code!), besides becoming a laughingstock. Your timing is also very suspicious, but I won’t jump to conclusions.

    And I’m not being sent by anyone to write this. It is my own opinion and I’m sharing it.

  19. Stuart Hertzog Says:

    Thanks for your opinions, Line. But the implication of what you suggest is that politics is “impure” and we should just accept that and stand aside so that the same old destructive political games can continue to undermine our democracy, destroy the lives of innocent people, eradicate living species, and eventually consume life as we know it on this entire planet. Sounds like total defeatism to me.

    There is an enormous difference between ‘purity’ and ‘principles.’ Purity is innocence of character and intent; principles are a set of values that motivate policies and actions. Everything is pure both in essence and reality, it’s just that many people are so confused by their ignorance so that their actions are primarily driven by their unconscious.

    To me, the job that has to get done is to strip away the veil of illusion that hides the grimy political reality that lies beneath, and return the Green Party to its core principles — or do you prefer to cling to your ‘impure’ political illusions? Perhaps in reality I’m too much of a realist for you?

    I take your accusing me of being pure as a compliment, Line. But I must remind you that I stood as a nomination candidate against Elizabeth May on a matter of principle, in this case the principle of participatory democracy, a core Green value embedded within the Party’s constitution.

    I am firmly of the opinion that the current leadership of the Green Party of Canada has forgotten this core Green value in their blind drive to GET ANYONE ELECTED, specifically Elizabeth May, which seems to be their definition of The Job That Needs To Be Done. Unfortunately, I believe they are missing the point of participatory Green politics entirely.

    Finally, your suggestion that I should be rightfully (hmm, that sounds somewhat defamatory to me) sued for defamation as a way of making me pay for my sins, makes you a Job’s comforter. Maybe that’s the Job you insist must be done? If so, I am reassured that despite all the travails I must endure, my wish for a better democracy that respects both people and Nature will be answered a hundredfold, and that I will live to be 140.

    Will the Green Party will have smartened up by then? Who knows! 🙂

  20. Shaun Bryson Says:

    I recently became a new member of the Green Party of Canada and had planned on supporting their efforts in the upcoming CCMV by-election. I find it absolutely pathetic that so many Greens attacked and continue to insult a man for attempting to be an active participant in what is supposed to be a “democratic process”.

    The fact so many of you are defending Ms. May and the Council’s tactics in this matter only shows me how misguided and corrupted this party has become.

    Parachuting candidates is a game I thought was reserved for the Big 3, but Ms.May has now done this on 2 separate occasions. Loyalty, trust, integrity, honesty???? REALLY????

    This party was on its way up after the ’08 election, you had momentum, the country was finally taking you seriously, and then…..

    Mr. Hertzog, you should be commended for your stance. It is people of your strength and fortitude who make me proud to live in Canada. I sincerely hope that Elections Canada investigates your complaints, though I doubt they will.

    As for those of you who try to silence this man, well all I can say is your misguided ways have pushed me into the waiting arms of the NDP. If I am going to support a party that plays the same old political games, I figure it should be for a leader I believe in.

  21. Sebastian Ronin Says:

    Shaun, re “Parachuting candidates is a game I thought was reserved for the Big 3, but Ms.May has now done this on 2 separate occasions.”

    Don’t forget London North prior to Central Nova. On my calculator that now makes three.

  22. Stuart Hertzog Says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Shaun. I’m pleased that you joined the Green Party, but saddened that the response of some over-zealous members to my stand has caused you to consider supporting the NDP. Unfortunately, that has been the response of too many intelligent and progressive Greens over the past decades.

    While it’s true that the past few leaders of the Green party have been steering the Party in the wrong direction for too long now, we need clear-sighted members such as yourself to stay around to help return the Green Party to its fundamental Green democratic principles.

    I hope you can reconsider your decision, especially as many of the issues in the Green Party are also at play within the federal NDP. It may be too late to reform that party, but I believe that with the help of people such as yourself, we can restructure the Green Party to become a model of an eco-centric, participatory democracy for all Canadians, and for the world.

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