Robinson-Levering contesting seat on local school board

Harry Sullivan
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TRURO - It is looking more and more like a new election will be called to fill the African Nova Scotian seat on the local school board.

The seat for the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board was contested following the Oct. 18 election by Shirley Robinson-Levering, who lost out to incumbent Elizabeth Paris.

Robinson-Levering made an application to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court to declare the election void, after citing irregularities in the list of electors.

"I think there's a signal coming from the bench that there should be a new election," her lawyer, Al BÉgin, said, following a court hearing Tuesday morning. "I think anyone sitting in the court room would get that feel."

That message came in part in the form of a suggestion from Justice J.E. Scanlan (who is trying to keep a rein on case's legal costs) that the opposing sides participate in a conflict resolution conference. A hearing date of March 27 has been set for that purpose.

"I fully hope and expect they'll be resolved before then, once they have had a chance to speak to the returning officer," BÉgin said.

At issue are ballots that were cast for an African Nova Scotian (ANS) candidate by people who should not have been permitted to vote while others who were eligible to vote were turned away. There were also others who say they did not vote for an ANS candidate but who were nonetheless credited with casting a vote

And there were 61 ANS votes cast by Stewiacke residents even though no black residents were living in that community when the vote was held, BÉgin said

"That I think would be serious cause for concern for anyone."

The eligibility requirements in the Education Act are that the voter be an African Nova Scotian or the parent of an African Nova Scotian.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Organizations: African Nova Scotian, Central Regional School Board, Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Geographic location: Chignecto, Stewiacke

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  • Reform
    January 18, 2010 - 11:21

    There has been much controversy around the process of this seat - everything from how and where you file to insufficient information to eligible voters. The question was raised in the recent cross province tour on election issues - if the courts can't settle it perhaps there will be some solid recommendations from this provincial report as it is a valuable position and should be recognized as such.