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IMPORTANT: Letter from Acting Executive Director and General Counsel of BCNU

  • Election; Bulletin

Dear Members of the British Columbia Nurses' Union,

As Acting Executive Director and General Counsel for the BCNU, I am taking the extraordinary step of writing to you regarding the BCNU elections and actions taken by the Provincial Nominations Committee. First, I assure you that the Nominations Committee acts independently and its members are in no way affiliated with, or influenced by any candidate. Second, it is important that you receive accurate facts regarding what has transpired.  

If a candidate breaks the rules the nomination committee responds to that breach and may escalate if required.  For example, they may ask the candidate to issue a correction, remind the candidate of the rules, or issue a citation as a first step. If a candidate repeatedly violates the rules the committee may take greater action to ensure that the election process is fair.The Nominations Committee was established to provide independent oversight of the BCNU election; members of the committee are elected at Convention and have their own external lawyer for support. Members of the committee are required to be impartial and not hold a BCNU position other than steward. As part of their responsibilities they set election rules, which each candidate acknowledges and signs they will follow, prior to their nomination being accepted. A key part of their mandate is to enforce those rules in order to ensure a fair and free election.  

The Nomination Committee has been issuing bulletins to BCNU members to keep them informed of violations and actions regarding Mr. Offley, Ms. Sharp and Ms. Lyth. For details, I encourage you to read these bulletins, found on the BCNU election web page.

Most recently, the Nominations Committee provided a final opportunity for the above mentioned candidates to submit a response to the ongoing and deliberate breaches of the rules. The candidates chose not to respond to the committee but rather posted false and misleading information on their elections page. They falsely claim that the decision to remove them was made by the current leadership of the BCNU. They encourage all of you to write to the current President, Vice-President, and Treasurer in order to put them back on the ballot. This is yet another example of the type of behavior which led to their removal as candidates. The current leadership had nothing to do with the decision of the Nominations Committee nor can they instruct the Committee to reverse their decision. Attacking the Provincial Executive is yet another way of deflecting and not taking responsibility for their own behaviour.

Additionally, the most recent information posted by Mr. Offley, Ms. Sharp, and Ms. Lyth contains many misstatements and falsehoods which in my view amount to defamation against the BCNU. For example, information provided regarding Ms. St. Pierre and Mr. Decker is misleading and devoid of the actual facts regarding those individuals. While this is not the forum for me to clarify those situations I am happy to do so for any member who wishes to contact me. BCNU will be examining further legal action to correct the false accusations contained within the information now being circulated by Mr. Offley, Ms. Sharp and Ms. Lyth.

Finally, I wish to address the latest accusation levied against the BCNU by Mr. Offley, Ms. Sharp, and Ms. Lyth in which they write "What are they afraid of?" BCNU is a professional member-driven union, which seeks to uphold the values that support the vision and mission statement of the organization. Blatant disregard for rules, the spreading of false information, and undermining the authority provided to the Nominations Committee contradict the established processes of the organization. The actions taken by the Nominations Committee are not out of fear but rather to enforce the rules that all candidates agreed to in order to maintain a fair and free election.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to email me at usheikh@bcnu.org.

Sincerely, 

Umar Sheikh
Acting Executive Director and General Counsel, BCNU

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