Elections BC

Rewarding work, if you can get it and keep your day job – Rerun

I rerun this piece again because a month has passed and I’ve heard nothing from Elections BC nor has the NDP Official Opposition replied to my request for comment about Mr. James apparently illegal status. Perhaps, each of us will be allowed to choose which rules and laws (income tax anyone?) apply to us. It seems elements of the BC Elections Act do not apply to Craig James.

Section 5(3) of the British Columbia Elections Act says:

The chief electoral officer must not
(a) hold another office or engage in other employment,


Craig James, Acting Chief Electoral Officer, in a letter dated October 7, 2010 to MLA John Horgan, boasts:

  • “[I perform work] for the World Bank and Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation (CCAF, Inc.)
  • “I have been engaged with the Bank in a variety of tasks. . . It has taken me to places such as Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and El Salvador, to name a few. . .
  • “The Turkish Government has asked me to assist them with a strategic plan . . .
  • “The World Bank continues to rely upon me for assistance. . .
  • “As for the CCAF, the Advisory Board meets regularly in Ottawa to discuss matters of financial import . . . and corporate structures generally. Again, this is very rewarding work.
  • “The World Bank has asked me to lead a seminar in Bangladesh in December, while the CCAF has asked me to attend a planning session in Ottawa in November.
  • “I am also the Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees and have been since 1985.
  • “I occupy a number of other positions, such as the Deputy Chair of the Editorial Board of the Canadian Parliamentary Review.”

Being as busy as he is, doing “very rewarding work” outside his role as Acting Chief Electoral Officer, Mr. James apparently has not had time to read the Act of the BC Legislature that defines his job.

Letter to John Horgan From EBC http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=44289983&access_key=key-h13t9dnx129ep2cbuv2&page=1&viewMode=list

H/T to G.West, a citizen who pays attention to details and Kim who initiated communication with John Horgan.

Categories: Elections BC

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14 replies »

  1. Thanks Norman, and thanks to you too Kim…a careful reading of the sections of the election act alongside James's letter to Horgan is more than a little revealing.

    I hope you'll have followed up with Horgan too Kim because he's probably more capable of following this issue in an effective way than we are.

    That being said, your point is well taken Kim, the sheer incompetence of this guy is profound. Not only does he lack the experience needed for the job he's doing, he appears to have no intention of trying to do the job properly.

    Thanks for the HT Norman – goes without saying you deserve one too.


  2. You are entitled to argue semantics but, by his own admission, this outside work consumes considerable time and energy and requires extensive international and national travel. Now, you might argue that, because he doesn't draw a cheque every two weeks from the World Bank or other organizations that engage his professional attentions, he is not employed. However, that would require a change to the Act which is quite clear. Case law supports a fairly broad interpretation of what it means to hold office or employment. BTW, the World Bank treats its consultants generously. Mind you, not every expert is willing to work for this agency given its agenda, such as forcing poor nations to privatize services against their wishes.


  3. He's undoubtedly receiving a benefit from all the work he's so keen to tell Horgan about – the 'intent' of the legislation is that the chief electoral officer (or the acting chief) is to BE ENGAGED FULL TIME IN THE DUTIES OF RUNNING HIS OFFICE.

    It is absolutely clear that he cannot be engaged full time in that job when he's off gallivanting around the world for the World Bank or working on the Canadian Parliamentary Review or the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees.

    He's clearly more interested in polishing his CV and toadying to various international potentates than he is in engaging with the abysmally poor performance he's put in so far as 'acting' chief electoral officer of British Columbia.

    The man is a stuffed shirt and a toady – the words he uses to describe his invitation from the Speaker – a man whom James ought to know can't invite him to do anything because he has no power to do so under the act – are very revealing.

    I know professional civil servants who have had to deal with this man in his other incarnation as clerk of the committees and they have, unanimously, confirmed that the man is useless.


  4. It is best to remember both the Peter principle” Where bureaucrats are promoted until they are deemed incompetent.” and my favourite gem; “A bureaucrat is a person so incompetent that they can't get a job in the real world.”


  5. I think there are bureaucrats who work hard for us too, such as Richard Colvin, of the afghan detainee file. Or Linda Johnson, who should be BC Chief Electoral Officer right now.

    What is a clerk of the Legislature, and our Acting CEO doing with the World Bank? Helping them gain access to Parliaments. Isn't that lobbying?


  6. Craig James performance so far suggests that he is distracted by other activities. Creating a policy retroactively is bad enough but trying to apply his own unique definition of the word “WORD” – one that is contrary to accepted language authorities – is a bit much. Even worse, he sought to maximize inconvenience to citizens pursuing their legal rights, by refusing to return signup sheets for canvassers. He demanded new ones be signed. He is acting outside the letter and spirit of the law he is charged with following. He cannot be trusted in this role. It should be an issue with the Official Opposition. Where are they?

    NOVEMBER 30, 2010 2:19 PM


  7. Craig James is the gaurdian of the MLAs pensions and stipends, for both parties. Furthermore, he can't be removed from his position (as clerk), without unaminious approval of all MLAs (see the Constituion Act). It's therefore pointless for the NDP to get on his bad side.


  8. I didn't know what either of these two words meant that were written in his letter……

    Last word in the first paragraph:

    seriatim, Latin for “in series”, is a legal term typically used to indicate that a court is addressing multiple issues in a certain order, such as the order that the issues were originally presented to the court.”

    Soooooo does Craig James sees himself as a Court?

    “Enclosure” (bottom of page 3, below his signature)

    Enclosure means:
    “If you are enclosing additional information with your letter such as a resume or a curriculum vitae, skip two single lines after your typed name and type “Enclosure” or “Enclosures.” If you use the plural, you have the option of stating the number of enclosures in parentheses.

    Enclosures (2)”

    Did Horgan get all of his mail from the Acting Chief Elections Officer or is there more because it looks like page 4 has been WHITED out…. even the the 4 is missing.


  9. I thought the use of Latin demonstrated that the man is a pedant. Presumably he meant that he would answer Horgan's points in the order raised by the MLA. Pedants never consider word economy in their writing; quite the opposite. Of course, the entire letter demonstrates that to be fact.

    Whatever the enclosure was, the NDP clearly decided to leave the officer unchallenged. Of course, we know now they were pre-occupied about that time with a caucus and party revolt. Frankly, just more evidence the party is not ready to form government.


  10. “How PAC's Role Can Be Made Effective – Sharing the Lessons Learned ..” – 2006

    “By way of introduction, my official title is Clerk Assistant and Clerk of Committees of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, in Canada. In this capacity, my responsibilities are twofold: I am a table officer in the House, and I have responsibility for all parliamentary committees of the Assembly.

    I have been the Clerk to the Select Standing Committee of Public Accounts of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for the past 19 years. Prior to this, I was the PAC Clerk in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly.” Craig James SNIP

    According to the Word Properties, a J. Schofield created the document on July 14, 2006; it was printed on July 5, 2006, and presented to the Conference on July 13th on what one has to assume to be Legislative Assembly of BC letterhead (also noted in Properties)



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