Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/11/2021 (193 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It can’t be easy being Shelly Glover these days.
She is the subject of ridicule on social media. Photoshopped images of her stalking Heather Stefanson appeared on Twitter a few days ago, joining multiple cartoons that make fun of her.
She’s the applicant in a legal proceeding that will likely cost her thousands of dollars and could take months to resolve.
She’s been mocked as "Trumpian" in the media. She’s being told to accept that she lost the ManitobaPC leadership contest, swallow her pride and move on.
Now compare the way Glover’s been treated to the case of Dr. Doug Eyolfson.
Eyolfson ran as the Liberal Party candidate in the Sept. 20 federal election in Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley. On election night, it appeared he had lost to Conservative Party incumbent Marty Morantz by just 24 votes.
It wasn’t until eight days later, after it was confirmed by Elections Canada that Morantz had actually won by 460 votes, that Eyolfson conceded.
During those eight days, Eyolfson was subjected to none of the abuse from the media, nor on social media, that Glover has received and is still receiving. Nobody compared him to Donald Trump. Nobody told him to give up and move on.
Why is that? Is it because Glover is a Tory, while Eyolfson is a Liberal? Is it because of the beliefs of many Glover’s supporters? Is it because of her gender?
What if, despite all the abuse, Glover has a point? What if there is factual substance to her claim she was robbed of victory minutes before the result of the PC Manitoba leadership contest was announced?
The facts appear to be as follows: the deadline for completed ballots to be received was 5 p.m. on Oct. 29. Seven hours later — at 12:27 a.m. on Oct. 30 — an email and attached spreadsheet was sent by the leadership election committee to both the Stefanson and Glover campaigns, saying there were a total of 16,045 ballots to be counted.
At around 5 p.m. the same day, Stefanson was declared the winner with 8,405 votes to Glover’s 8,042. The party said 17 ballots were disputed and 82 were spoiled. That’s a total of 16,546 ballots — 501 ballots more than the number given by the party at 12:27 a.m., with no explanation for where those additional ballots came from.
According to those numbers, Stefanson emerged as the winner with just 51 per cent of eligible votes. It’s a slim margin of victory that would justify a recount in most elections, but the leadership contest rules had no provision for a recount.
An even bigger problem is the fact ballots were mailed out so late that at least 1,200 members had not received them before the Oct. 29 deadline for completed ballots to be received by the party. It’s likely many more members received ballots too late to get them back to the party before the deadline.
In response to the situation, Glover wanted the contest extended so that all ballots cast could be counted, but both the PC Party and Stefanson refused. That’s the opposite of "Trumpian."
Does any of this prove Glover was the actual winner of the leadership contest? No.
Does it prove the process to select our new premier was bungled, such that Manitobans could (and perhaps should) have a well-founded concern about the accuracy of the outcome? Absolutely.
That points to yet another glaring problem. The Eyolfson-Morantz contest was settled when Elections Canada publicly released the final vote totals and provided a full explanation for why the margin of victory increased.
The Manitoba PC party hasn’t done that. To date, there has been no public explanation regarding the 501-ballot discrepancy. There has been no further explanation why it was necessary to move so quickly to disenfranchise more than 1,000 — possibly thousands — of party members.
This situation has nothing to do with what Glover’s supporters may or may not believe in. It has nothing to do with what Glover’s policies might be as premier.
It has everything to do with ensuring that democracy is done properly, and seen to be done.
Viewed from that perspective, you can’t blame Glover for wanting to know the truth, whatever that may be.
Deveryn Ross is a political commentator living in Brandon.