The City Of Regina Rejects RWW’s Petition Because Thousands Of People Who Signed It Didn’t Write The Year 2013 Next To Their Names… Wait, Seriously? You Really Expect People To Buy That Line? Well Okay Then. I Admire Your Chutzpah.

As I was worried might happen, Regina city clerk Joni “Nitpicky” Swidnicki has used an Orwellian definition of the word “date” to recommend rejecting a legitimate citizen petition with over 24,000 signatures. She did this, I can only assume, because City Hall is really, really scared it would lose a public referendum on their precious private water treatment plant. If you want the straight facts you can go to CBC or the Leader-Post, both of whom will have excellent, accurate reporting. Or you could read Paul Dechene’s post, which I haven’t read yet but assume is excellent. [Dechene here: It’s just so-so. Mostly I just retyped the clerk’s report and calculated a few percentages. I spent some of this afternoon acting as a meat shield for my kids during a hail storm. And right now, retyping is all I have in me.] As for me, well, I’m going to rant. So buckle up.

After this afternoon’s announcement at City Hall by director of governance and strategy Jim “No Questions” Nicol (I assume Nitpicky Swidnicki was hiding under a desk elsewhere in the building and therefore unavailable), Regina Mayor Michael Fougere came downstairs to address media. Fougere, looking dapper in his grey suit with his fabulous Fougehair gleaming under the foyer’s fluorescent lights, stressed that rejecting the petition had nothing to do with council’s wishes. Nope! He pointed out that the city clerk’s office is independent from council but he thinks the clerk’s decision is reasonable and CLEARLY everyone’s hands are tied but trust him, no one at city hall hates democracy or is a fascist.

And anyways council will meet on Monday to talk more about this. And blah blah blahdy-blah.

If I recall correctly (I was busy taking unflattering pictures), Fougere was asked by one reporter if he’d spoken to the clerk about the decision before it was released. Which would of course be insanely inappropriate. Instead of answering the question, he merely said, repeatedly, that the clerk is independent of council. Uh huh.

So what now? Well, council could greenlight the referendum anyway. They kind of better, in my view, because Nitpicky’s sense of what is and is not a valid signature is total malarkey.

However, I doubt Council will validate a referendum that Nitpicky Swidnicki worked so hard to sabotage (but definitely not on their behalf, nooo).

Yeah. I think Regina Water Watch will have to take them to court to get this referendum.

Council will review the report on Monday night. If you care about this topic, get your butt to that meeting to let these councillors know by your frowny-faced presence that you’re deeply offended by citizen petitions being squashed for bullshit reasons.

And when council rejects the referendum–and they will–don’t be a whiny, discouraged pussy. Just start fundraising for legal action.

More to come later and in next week’s Prairie Dog.

The Cowardice Of Denial

The great Dan Savage has written an excellent, EXCELLENT feature about something global warming and the AIDS epidemic have in common–the cowardly impulse to reject facts as a crisis unfolds. And you! You must read it! Here’s a long but good excerpt:

Which brings me to Pat Buchanan. In 1983, Buchanan wrote a vicious column for the New York Post about the emerging AIDS crisis. Buchanan gloated and celebrated a disease that had already killed hundreds and would go on to kill millions. Buchanan’s reaction wasn’t unique; almost all social conservatives at the time welcomed the AIDS epidemic with unconcealed glee. God’s judgment had come at last, and it vindicated everything the TV preachers had been saying since Stonewall. Homosexuals were sinners, the wages of sin is death, and now the homosexual sinners were dying. Praise the Lord.

The last line of Buchanan’s acid column was etched into my brain the day I read it: “The poor homosexuals—they have declared war on nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.”

That line—17 words—stung more than all the anti-gay sermons thundering down from the pulpits of all the American churches combined. Writing this piece, I didn’t even have to look it up. I could recite it from memory. We had long been told that gay sex was unnatural—that we were unnatural—and now nature was moving to exterminate us.

Every time I read about fires in Colorado or rising seas or Canadian tar sands or Native villages already being washed away in Alaska or preparations for the next hurricane that slams into New York City, a slightly modified version of Buchanan’s vicious line about AIDS plays in my head. We have declared war on nature, and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.

We have declared war on the water we drink and the air we breathe. We have declared war on the forests and the oceans. We have declared war on the honeybees. All of us have—liberal, conservative, independent. Some of us, however, are ready to start making the changes that must be made if we want to survive in this world.

The Stranger ran another spectacular feature on the menace of global warming last year that you should also read.

This is top of mind for me because this morning I edited (well, proofread) the upcoming issue’s David Suzuki column, and it’s essentially about the same topic: the dimwitted, frightened, angry, corrupt and complicit villainy of the sort of fools and tools who insist there’s nothing wrong when evidence clearly contradicts that.

The fools and tools are mistaken and we must change their minds. And if we can’t? Then we must fight! Roar!