City Clerk’s Office Being Finicky With Petition Dates

The Twitterverse alerted me to this blurb in a Leader Post article by Tim Switzer about the city clerk’s office and the work they’re doing to check the Regina Water Watch petition.

To count, each line must include a petitioner’s signature, printed full name, street address and date signed. Because the Cities Act does not give a definition for the date, Swidnicki, in consultation with city lawyers, has determined that it must include the day, month and year. So if a date on the petition reads June 3, rather than June 3, 2013, it will not count.

Hunh. Funny they could think the year could be anything other than 2013 considering the Waste Water Treatment Plant P3 was approved in February of 2013. Was Regina Water Watch gathering names back in 2011 and 2012 in anticipation of a P3 that hadn’t even been proposed yet? I think I might’ve written a blog post about that if they were.

If what’s reported in the L-P article is true (and the L-P’s city hall coverage is top notch so I’ve no reason to doubt this), it sounds a little like the clerk’s office is making up the rules of the game as they go along. And in a way that benefits their side the most. We had a name for kids who did this in the schoolyard: Jerks. And nobody wanted to play with them.

It’s pretty brazen of them to be doing something like this after so recently being the butt of some very bad press for attempting at the 11th hour to raise the threshold that will force a referendum by 2,000 signatures. And maybe I’m overreacting, but when this whole saga comes to an end, these are exactly the sort of stunts that will call the objectivity of the clerk’s office into question and lead to accusations of dirty pool from the public.

On the plus side, the province turned down the city’s request to raise the referendum threshold. And that means, as the petition contains over 24,000 signatures, the clerk’s office will have to strike out in five of them if the they’re to rule the petition invalid. That’s A LOT of names.

Of course, deciding how dates should be written only after the petition has already been collected and submitted is a pretty good trick if you want to disappear that many names.

It’s a good thing that Regina Water Watch has kept a copy of their petition. You know, in case a third party were to want to take a look at it.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

8 thoughts on “City Clerk’s Office Being Finicky With Petition Dates”

  1. The City of Regina is trying to weasel out of this…ignore what the taxpayers want, a VOTE! This whole scenerio is making me sick, and I’m ashamed of the city I live in.

  2. The whole crew’s been lying and scheming since Day 1. I’m surprised the PDawg isn’t taking a harder-line approach to the Mayor’s Office on this one. Fumes.

  3. Please forward to all your contacts. Please also circulate on social media.

    City officials are going to unprecedented lengths to invalidate signatures on the Waste Water Treatment Plant petition and thus to deprive citizens of their right to vote.
    They are eliminating signatures that do not contain the year as part of the date, even though the petition only existed in 2013.

    They are making inappropriate telephone calls and leaving inappropriate messages. (If you received one these calls or messages could you please get back to me with the details.)

    This is not the first time the City has attempted to roadblock the petition. One week before the petition was due, the City asked the provincial government to increase the number of signatures needed to force a referendum.

    We need to let the Mayor and our City Councillors know EVERY PETITION SIGNATURE COUNTS. Ask them to uphold the democratic process and to respect the wishes of Regina citizens.

    Attached is the Mayor’s and Councillors’ contact information. It is also pasted in below.

    We also need folks to distribute flyers in public places, such as Saturday’s Farmers’ Market, asking citizens to contact the Mayor and their City Councillor. If you are available for this work, please let me know and I’ll arrange to get flyers to you.

    The Waste Water Treatment Plant petition was delivered to City Hall on June 20. It had 24, 232 signatures on it. The minimum number of signatures needed to force a referendum is 19, 310 signatures. The petition thus has 4,922 more signatures than required for a referendum. City officials are looking for ways to eliminate your signature.

    CONTACT INFORMATION FOR CITY COUNCILLORS

    Mayor Michael Fougere 777-7339 or [email protected]
    Ward 1: Barbara Young 539-4081 or [email protected]
    Ward 2: Bob Hawkins 789-2888 or [email protected]
    Ward 3: Shawn Fraser 551-5030 or [email protected]
    Ward 4: Bryon Burnett 737-3347 or [email protected]
    Ward 5: John Findura 536-4250 or [email protected]
    Ward 6: Wade Murray 596-1035 or [email protected]
    Ward 7: Sharron Bryce 949-5025 or [email protected]
    Ward 8: Mike O’Donnell 545-7300 or [email protected]
    Ward 9: Terry Hincks 949-9690 or [email protected]
    Ward 10:Jerry Flegel 537-9888 or [email protected]

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