Former Pouce Coupe mayor appeals BC Supreme Court ‘vote buying’ verdict

The controversial former mayor is seeking to be reinstated as mayor or have the position left vacant pending a by-election.

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Former Pouce Coupe mayor Lorraine Michetti in front of flags at Pouce Coupe Town Hall.
Former Pouce Coupe mayor Lorraine Michetti. (The Village of Pouce Coupe)

POUCE COUPE, B.C. — After her attempt to get her successor removed from office failed, former Pouce Coupe mayor Lorraine Michetti is once again fighting to get back into office.

Michetti’s lawyer, Nathalie Baker, filed an appeal on May 1st in a second attempt to try and reverse the 2022 election results. The controversial former mayor is seeking to be reinstated as mayor or have the position left vacant pending a by-election.

According to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, a hearing date has not been scheduled at this time.

Michetti filed a petition in November 2022 claiming Veach should be removed on the grounds of trying to buy and intimidate voters and “serious fraudulent misrepresentations” about her character.

Judge Ward Branch made a final decision and sent it to Veach and Michetti on January 10th, 2023, dismissing the case and upholding the 2022 election as lawful.

The judge stated in the verdict that the meet and greet event that Michetti alleged was an attempt by Veach to buy votes did not violate the Local Government Act and was not an instance of vote buying.

“There is no other evidence from any other attendees at the Tea and Talk that they believed that Mrs.Veach intended to intimidate or, by fraudulent means, persuade, compel or otherwise cause them to vote, not vote, or vote in any particular way,” read Branch’s decision in January.

During the Tea and Talk, Veach allegedly made false statements claiming Michetti was the reason for a former village administrator’s suicide.

Branch said there was only one witness of the alleged misrepresentations, “but his evidence had both reliability and credibility problems.”

Michetti also alleged that Veach told voters during an event at the Nawican Friendship Centre that Michetti endangered a friend of Veach’s by giving out her contact information to an ex-husband while she was in a witness protection program.

Branch said there was no evidence of statements being made to any Pouce Coupe voter at the event and didn’t find that a false statement was made.

Branch also ruled that Veach’s conversations at both events did not constitute voter intimidation through fraudulent misrepresentation.

The case was heard in the Supreme Civil court in Vancouver in December over the course of four days.

In October 2022, Veach was named mayor of Pouce Coupe over Michetti by five votes.

This is not Michetti’s first brush with the court system. Michetti took the Village of Pouce Coupe to court twice after she had been stripped of her portfolios on council.

In February 2021, Michetti made controversial social media posts and comments, allegedly comparing gun owners to holocaust victims and using stereotypes of Indigenous people to mock environmental protests. A couple of days later, council members at the time held a special meeting, voting to remove Michetti from all committees and boards without the mayor at the time in attendance.

After two council members stepped down, Danielle Veach and Marcel Woodill were elected to fill the positions after a by-election.

Just after being sworn in on October 6th, 2021, Councillors unanimously voted to go through the list of Michetti’s local and regional positions and replaced her with councillors.

A court ruled in favour of Michetti both times, restoring her of her positions until last year’s election.

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