Elections BC says it has approved a recall petition against B.C. Premier and MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey David Eby.
Salvatore Vetro of Maple Ridge is the proponent of the petition against Eby, who became premier on Nov. 18.
All recall petitions must include a statement of justification, and Vetro’s statement appears to draw a comparison between Eby and the former leaders of Nazi Germany over Bill 36, the Health Professions and Occupations Act.
“Bill 36 breaks many existing laws including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the International Nuremburg Code,” the statement reads. Vetro goes on to call Eby a “dictator” and predicts the collapse of the provincial health-care system unless the government repeals the bill.
Vetro ran as an independent candidate in Vancouver-Kensington during the 2020 provincial election, where he won 202 or less than one per cent of the vote.
“We are in it to win,” he said in an interview at the time with Black Press Media.
Vetro, a HandyDART driver for 25 years with TransLink who has transitioned into acting after retirement, said the government failed to consult the public and that people will be hurt by the provincial health-care system punishing doctors who speak out about COVID-19 vaccination.
Vetro acknowledged that he is not a health-care worker impacted by the legislation, but many of the people whom he knows do not like the bill.
When asked why he is going down this route, Vetro said that other means such as voting have proven ineffective.
The bill — which has been the subject of considerable social media discussion, much of it conspiratorial — concerns the regulation of health service providers following the release of a report that had previously recommended a complete overhaul of colleges regulating medical professionals because of concerns over patients’ care.
The act has received criticism from bodies representing medical professionals, including British Columbia Medical Association representing doctors. The association argued during the legislative process that the bill would threaten the autonomy of the profession, politicize college board decisions and raise costs.
Criticism has focused on the Office of the Superintendent of Health Profession and Occupation Oversight. According to the legislation, the superintendent is responsible for preparing performance standards for regulators and guidelines with respect to regulatory best practices. The superintendent would also review governance practices, including responding to complaints and conducting audits, investigations and system-wide reviews.
Registered canvassers may begin collecting signatures on Jan. 17 until March 20. The petition succeeds if 40 per cent, or 16,449, eligible voters have signed it. Eligible voters must have been a registered voter in the Vancouver-Point Grey on Oct. 24, 2020, when Eby won the riding.
If it is clear that the petition has not met the signature threshold after submission, Elections BC will take no further action. If the petition has met the threshold, Elections BC will have 42 days to verify the signatures.
“In the event of a successful recall petition, the recalled member’s seat becomes vacant and a by-election must be called within 90 days,” it reads. “The recalled member can run as a candidate in the by-election.”
Both Vetro and Eby can spend close $34,000 during the campaign. The expenses limit for recall advertising sponsors is just under $6,000.
The Chief Electoral Officer has approved 27 previous petition applications since recall legislation came into force in 1995. Elections BC has received six of those petitions by the due date, but five did not have enough valid signatures.
Vancouver-Point Grey has been the site of two previous recall campaigns. Former Vancouver-Point Grey MLA Gordon Campbell — who also served as premier — was subject of recall petitions in 1998 and 2003. Both petitions failed because they were not submitted by the deadline.
James Smith from the Office of the Premier said in statement to Black Press Tuesday afternoon that Elections BC has informed the office about the petition.
“These initiatives are the right of any British Columbian to pursue regardless of the motivation,” he said. “Last year we saw a small extremist group attempt a similar initiative against the MLA for Vernon-Monashee and it failed outright. Premier David Eby resides in the electoral district of Vancouver-Point Grey with his family and has served the community as their MLA for ten years.”