Green party gets to keep the green

Every vote for ejected candidate is money in the pockets of the Green party

The Green party will likely profit from an errant candidate who quit after it was reported in this paper he had an offensive post on his Facebook site.

The Leader learned this week that Alan Saldanha, 63, had posted as his favourite quote on Facebook: “If rape is inevitable, lie back and enjoy it!”

Women’s support groups were outraged at the offensive comment.

Saldanha told The Leader his comments were taken out of context, and apologized for them.

He quit the election race an hour after The Leader posted the story on line.

Some officials of the Green party knew days before, and had asked Saldanha to remove the post.

It was after Elections Canada’s April 11 deadline for candidates that the party accepted his resignation, so Saldanha will remain on the ballot, under the Green Party banner.

It’s expected many people will still be putting an “X” beside his name, even if it’s just to support the party.

Doug McArthur, professor of public policy at SFU, said the party will likely get 1,000 votes for Saldanha, even though he has quit.

“Partly, some people won’t even realize what happened, but some will, and they want to cast the Green ballot, so they go ahead and do it,” McArthur said Thursday.

Canadian political parties receive an annual $2-per-vote allowance.

The Green Party of Canada collected $469,686 nationally in the first quarter of this year in voting allowances.

Kieran Green, the Green party’s director of communications, said the party hasn’t yet decided what it will do with the money received in that riding.

“Frankly, that has not been discussed,” Green said Thursday. He noted that votes cast in that riding would be more for the party than they would be for the candidate.

“From our perspective, the people who still choose to do that (vote Green), are expressing their will that they still want to see a strong Green Party in Canada, and so, that vote is going to the Green Party.”

Doug McArthur, professor of public policy at SFU, said the politically expedient thing for the Green Party to do is refuse to take the money at all.

“They can say ‘well, we’re a registered party, and if people want to vote for us, we should be able to collect the money,” McArthur said. “I think in the circumstances, and given that it’s because of their candidate and perhaps some degree their carelessness inspecting candidates that this has happened.

“Given that there is no candidate in the race, most people would say that money doesn’t belong to them,” McArthur said. “The common sense argument would say ‘return the money.’ “

While it’s unlikely, Elections Canada said if Saldanha got the most votes in the riding, he would be the new Member of Parliament.

kdiakiw@surreyleader.com