I’ll try to keep this short, I swear.
Remember that bit in the Cities Act about who the city clerk is supposed to contact if they have questions about the petition? It’s section 107 and I mentioned it in that post about phone calls to petitioners…
(4) The petition must have attached to it a signed statement of a person stating:
(a) that the person is the representative of the petitioners;
(b) that the city may direct any inquiries about the petition to the representative;
Okay, so that pretty clearly indicates that if there is anything inquiry-worthy about the petition the city clerk should ask the petition organizers about it. And on every single sheet of the petition there will be a name that the clerk can contact.
Well, I phoned Jim Holmes, the spokesperson for Regina Water Watch, tonight to double check something he’d said at the petition press conference on Friday. Holmes had pointed out that RWW could have provided affidavits to the city clerk’s office indicating that the petition sheets weren’t even printed until late March of 2013.
So, if the clerk had taken section 107 to heart and, seeing those 2,834 signatures without years in them and deciding this was a problem — something “inquiry-worthy” you might say — had phoned up the people who were collecting signatures and, you know, asked about this, they could have had proof in the form of Legal Documents! that showed that, when in doubt, the only possible year petitioners could have meant when writing the date was 2013.
But that isn’t what happened.
Instead, the clerk’s office contacted RWW and merely informed them that they’d be excluding dates without years in them. Holmes says that he emailed back to say that the sheets were made in 2013 so the year should be obvious. But he never heard back and has had no other contact with the clerk’s office.
They only “communicated through the media” from then on, he says. And then, he points out, shortly after that the clerks even stopped communicating with the media.
Which is true. For Prairie Dog, at least. After the interview I did with Joni Swidnicki for the July 11 issue, I attempted to arrange a follow up interview to discuss a few things that came up — some of which I’ve raised in the blog posts I’ve written today. But I was informed by the city’s communications department that the city clerk was not going to be doing any more interviews because everything had been covered already.
Which you could argue wasn’t true seeing as I still had questions.
So there you have it. I could probably find more to write about tonight but I’m out of steam.
Remember, if you’re pissed off about the petition being rejected and want to vent to council or if you’re really happy about that and want to say, “Great job, city clerk, have a trophy,” you can still get on the agenda for tomorrow night’s special council meeting. Briefs have to be submitted by noon Monday to the Office of the City Clerk. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
And at the top of your cover sheet, make sure you date it with the day, month and year, otherwise they could claim they received it a year too late.