A former Central Alberta MLA is taking his fight over a $250 administrative penalty during the 2015 Alberta election all the way to the Alberta’s highest court.
Taking a fight over a $250 fine to the Alberta Court of Appeal may seem petty, but Joe Anglin believes he is addressing a larger concern of ensuring the legislature is the only entity in Alberta that is able to make laws.
He recently won leave to appeal an October Court of Queen’s Bench decision, upholding a $250 fine levied against him during the election.
The fine was imposed by the Chief Electoral Officer because information relating to the sponsor of Anglin’s election sign was too small. In essence a fine, it was imposed as an administrative penalty as the officer said Anglin violated the officer’s guidelines for election advertising.
“We can’t have a situation in our democracy where an appointed person can add to or amend the laws created by the legislature, nor should we have a situation where a person who was appointed to ensure we have fair elections in this province can interfere with those elections,” he wrote in an email.
Anglin, then an independent, ran as the incumbent MLA in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre during the 2015 provincial election.
Central to Anglin’s appeal is a dispute over the Chief Electoral Officer’s powers under the Election Act. He has argued a fine shouldn’t be imposed on him because he failed to comply with a rule found in guidelines set out by the Chief Electoral Officer as opposed to measures in the Election Act.
Appeal Court Justice Barbara Lea Velduis, raised questions about the decision including about whether Anglin could be found in contravention of the Election Act if he only violated the Chief Electoral Officer’s advertising guidelines and not the act itself.
In the Court of Queen’s Bench, Justice Terry Clackson ruled the legislature intended allow the Chief Electoral Officer to exercise discretion in enforcing compliance with the Election Act.
Anglin was first elected in 2012 as a Wildrose MLA. In 2014, he left the Wildrose party to sit as an independent. During the 2015, provincial election he first sought the Progressive Conservative nomination, but it was rejected. He ran as an independent and finished fourth. Jason Nixon won the riding as a Wildrose party member.