Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Tamara Goeppel

Goeppel to ‘rigorously’ defend herself: lawyer

The RCMP have charged Tamara Goeppel,

By Sidney Cohen on February 16, 2017

The RCMP have charged Tamara Goeppel, a Yukon Liberal Party candidate in the November 2016 territorial election, with violating the Yukon Elections Act.

Goeppel faces two counts of “aiding or abetting persons in making proxy applications that were not in accordance with Section 106 of the (Yukon Elections) Act.”

She also faces one count of “inducing persons to falsely declare on proxy application that they would be absent from the Yukon during the hours fixed for voting,” the Whitehorse RCMP announced this morning.

The charges stem from an investigation into Goeppel’s use of proxy ballots in 2016, while she running as the Liberal candidate in Whitehorse Centre.

Goeppel organized proxy votes for 10 homeless people in her downtown riding, the Liberal party said in a statement on Nov. 1.

Proxy votes are reserved for people who have reason to believe they won’t be able to vote on election day, or at advanced polls, because of absence from the Yukon.

Police launched an investigation into Goeppel in early November, after the Yukon’s Chief Electoral Officer alerted them to possible offences under the Yukon Elections Act relating to her use of proxy ballots.

Goppel is scheduled to appear in territorial court on Feb. 28, said the RCMP.

Goeppel declined the Star’s request for an interview today.

Her lawyer, Richard Fowler, said Goeppel was served with summons Wednesday and that she has no comment at this time, as the case is before the courts.

“She intends to rigorously defend herself,” Fowler told the Star from his office in Vancouver.

The charges against Goeppel are “very serious,” Yukon Party interim leader Stacy Hassard said this morning.

“I would have hoped that the premier (Sandy Silver) would have taken action when the allegations first came about.”

Neither Silver nor the Liberal party responded to the Star’s requests for comment before this afternoon’s press deadline.

The firestorm surrounding Goeppel’s use of proxy ballots erupted one week before election day (Nov. 7).

At the time, Yukon NDP Leader Liz Hanson, the incumbent in Whitehorse Centre, called on Silver, as Liberal leader, to remove Goeppel from his team.

He did not.

Laura Cabott, his campaign chair, said Nov. 1:

“Tamara was well-intentioned and genuine in her desire to help everybody have a voice and everybody that’s eligible to vote, to vote in the election.

“She made a mistake, and that is now being investigated.”

Hanson ultimately won Whitehorse Centre, beating out Goeppel by 55 votes.

Goeppel defended her use of proxy votes during the campaign, saying only the voter herself can make a judgment about where she will be on polling days.

She added that street-involved people may feel intimidated by the voting process, and they aren’t adequately accommodated.

She said the Salvation Army could have been a polling place, as it’s “a location that is more comfortable for folks.”

The penalty for an offence under the Elections Act is a fine of up to $5,000, a jail term of up to one year, or both.

In the fall of 2014, Goeppel unsuccessfully challenged Yukon MP Larry Bagnell for the territory’s Liberal nomination for the October 2015 federal election.

Comments (20)

Up 19 Down 3

Son of a beech on Feb 21, 2017 at 12:17 pm

@rcmp need to dig deeper

Contrary to your thoughts. The police do not simply choose people at random for investigations. It is largely based on complaInts. If you know someone is doIng something illegal....call them.

Up 26 Down 24

RCMP need to dig deeper on Feb 19, 2017 at 10:48 am

Into the other two leaders of the parties to see how clean they are.

Up 41 Down 13

north_of_60 on Feb 18, 2017 at 6:56 pm

Are we to believe that she came up with this idea of gaming proxy votes all on her own without discussing it with the party leadership? Yeah right. More likely she was the only one to get caught. Hopefully this whole sordid mess will be exposed in court.

Up 39 Down 16

Mr M on Feb 18, 2017 at 9:52 am

Must have found some damaging evidence to proceed with charges. Just shows it doesn't matter what Government you vote in they all seem to be dishonest in one way or another. Can't trust anyone even if you know them or not.

Up 5 Down 6

alex on Feb 17, 2017 at 8:02 pm

@dean larue what's your insight? I can't wait to hear!

Up 25 Down 37

BB on Feb 17, 2017 at 12:12 pm

She went around looking for proxy votes - at worst. (says she was going around to talk to people then they ended up deciding to do proxy votes.)
Plenty of politicians over the years have done this and worse but were never pursued like this.

This has gone further than it should. The whole proxy vote program was stupid and has been done away with and that's good. It didn't work, it was open to misinterpretation and to abuse.
I feel badly for Tamara and would have preferred to see this dropped.

Up 38 Down 15

Dean Larue on Feb 17, 2017 at 10:15 am

When is Wilf Carter going to tell us what he thinks about this ?

Up 50 Down 11

Sparky on Feb 17, 2017 at 7:26 am

@ so wrong
That is exactly what everyone says when they are arrested for anythIng. Always something more serious they could be looking into. Guess they should never investigate/charge anything less than war crimes then huh?
People complain when they think the police aren't working hard enough...then they charge someone with somethIng someone has complained to them about...and people still aren't happy.
Imagine...police get called to a major car accident...sorry. We can't go...we have 200 people working on a murder from 10 years ago.
Perhaps you should join the Mounties, then maybe the world would become a better place.

Up 33 Down 49

Police encroachment on Feb 17, 2017 at 6:06 am

This matter had been dealt with so why do we have the knights in shining armour waking up now and at who's request? Let's investigate a few more politicians while we're at it seeing as we have so much spare time that we can ignore criminal activity which should be the real focus of our job. How about Brad Cathers and misrepresentation of position concerning affordable housing and the real estate moguls getting to him for policy change. Paz was fraudulent when he was at a mining round-up in Colorado where he told the interests there that First Nations were all on board with him concerning mining when nothing could have been further from the truth. We had the illegal awarding of $1million plus contract without going through tender process by intern leader. You want to be equal and just - well then get on a few of these crimes. We won't even mention community crime which is rampant and largely ignored because of inefficient backlogs and weak incompetent prosecution. Maybe a few more ostentatious road blocks and superfluous political investigations will help women take back the night.

Up 49 Down 23

randy on Feb 16, 2017 at 11:21 pm

@so wrong - if you know about so many rapists, child molesters, and murders running around maybe you should call the police on them instead of making a senseless online comment about the justice system.

Up 36 Down 15

what's so wrong? on Feb 16, 2017 at 11:17 pm

@so wrong.... Is election fraud excusable if nobody is murdered or raped and
no children molested ?

Up 67 Down 8

JACK on Feb 16, 2017 at 9:13 pm

This sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated in our democracy. How can a candidate claim to not know the role of the proxy vote under the current territorial voting franchise?

Can't wait to see who gets thrown under the bus here!!

Up 59 Down 15

Not surprised on Feb 16, 2017 at 9:05 pm

Vigorously demands more inclusion of local businesses... then gets a lawyer from Vancouver. Yep, we dodged a bullet by not having her in gov. Typical political hypocrite. I'd imagine she'll do what most other shameless Yukon politicians do next election... switch parties and try again.

Up 86 Down 13

June Jackson on Feb 16, 2017 at 6:33 pm

Tamara is too smart not to have known what she was doing.. but apparently too arrogant to think there would not be any consequences.

Up 27 Down 16

grabitnow on Feb 16, 2017 at 6:12 pm

"This is the law of the Yukon... 'one law for the rich and one law for the poor, but when politicians come knocking on your door, they'll tell you we are all equal before the law except for WCB and YTG.

Up 26 Down 53

BnR on Feb 16, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Nile, you are so full of it. So you are accusing the lberal party of election fraud? What's your source? Any facts or just wild speculation?
All parties can have proxy votes. You just have to follow the rules. The YP uses proxy, the NDP, they all do.
Anyone who knows Tamara knows this was not done to gain any unfair advantage. You can speculate all you want, but this was simply poor judgement and/or bad advice.

Up 59 Down 4

Miss Informed on Feb 16, 2017 at 4:50 pm

I hope they investigate proxy voting in other ridings to see if similar abuses occurred. Tamara may be the only one who got caught, but I wouldn't be surprised if this this sleazy proxy gambit was used elsewhere.

Up 53 Down 122

so wrong on Feb 16, 2017 at 4:16 pm

She's getting charged for this and there are still rapists, child molesters and murderers on the loose. Our justice system is so screwed.

Up 97 Down 49

Nile on Feb 16, 2017 at 3:21 pm

You know this runs deep into the liberal party. I would love to know how many proxy votes went to the Libs in all ridings. I feel bad for Sandy because I think he was kept in the dark (plausible deniability). The liberal old boys and girls run the show. Not the Premier.

Up 112 Down 21

Stanley Miller on Feb 16, 2017 at 3:18 pm

She broke the law for some very lame reason but thinks the law is unjust.
Let her have her day in court. Be lenient but she can pay the crown's court costs for wasting everyone's time.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.