Well, well, well....
It would appear that, caught with their website-index-pages-pants down, Craig James' Gang at Elections BC has now admitted that it changed the rules on word counts AFTER the petition to recall Oak Bay Gordon('s) Head MLA/Member of the Legislative Assembly Ida Chong was submitted to them last week.
Cindy Harnett had that story earlier today in the VSun. Here is her lede:
The word-count policy that resulted in the rejection of an application to recall Oak Bay MLA Ida Chong was created a day after the application was submitted, Elections BC has acknowledged.
"The policy on word counts was finalized and went up on our website Wednesday," Elections BC's executive program manager Tricia Poilievre said Friday.....
But here's the thing.
Is this after-the-fact change in the rules also really, really, really retroactive?
As in thirteen years retroactive?
Why do I ask?
Well, it turns out that the petition that led to the initiation of a recall campaign against Skeena NDP MLA Helmut Giesbrecht in 1997 was, by our count, 194 words long when you count 'MLA', which was used twice, as one word.
And if you stretch out that 'MLA' to Mr. James' newly minted 'Member of the Legislative Assembly'?
Well, then, again by our count, the total comes out to 202.
The wording of the Skeena petition itself comes from the pre-James' Gang Elections-BC Report on Recall that was issued in 1998 which can be found as a pdf here (hint: look for Section 5.1.2).
No word yet if Mr. James has hopped in the DeLorean so that he can go back in time and slap down both that Skeena petition and Marty McFly.
Now, seriously.....Why does this matter?
Well, because of something else that the James' Gang 'executive program manager', as quoted by the VSun's C. Harnett, had to say, which was the following:
..."The 200-word limit is in the legislation; it's always been there," (Elections BC program manager Tricia) Poilievre said. "The methodology used for word counts had never been an issue in the past because all previous recall applications had come in at well below 200 words.".....
Me thinks an obfuscating/appointed senior bureaucrat has some (real) explaining to do.
(for our actual analysis of the alternate, bizarro world, word count comparisons see the jpegs below)
Now, why the heckfire would I even bother to do this on a sleet-laden Sudbury-like Saturday Night in Lotusland?....Two reasons...First, a commenter calling himself 'nruff' mentioned that there might be such a discrepancy in a very insightful comment over at Mr. Tieleman's place on comment thread to this post.....Second, I am a science-geek in real life....Thus, I am regularly subjected to word counts for papers, grants and all manner of academic flotsam and jetsam....And never (ever) in the 25 years I have been in the business has anything I have ever submitted to anybody been flagged for the use of acronyms which, as you might imagine, are used extremely....uhhhh....'liberally' in the geek biz....OK?
1997 Skeena Petition using 'MLA' = 194 Words
1997 Skeena Petition using 'Member of the Legislative Assembly' = 202 Words