REGINA – Regina Water Watch is demanding that citizens of Regina get a fair vote on whether Regina’s new wastewater treatment plant will be privatized or remain public. The citizen’s group delivered 24,232 signatures to city hall on June 20, 2013, substantially exceeding the legal requirement of 19,310.
“Regina residents have spoken loud and clear with their signatures. They want a vote on whether or not wastewater treatment should be privatized or remain public,” says Jim Holmes of Regina Water Watch. “With more signatures collected than the Mayor himself received in votes, it is clear that a referendum must be held and the petition question should be put to voters.”
Regina Water Watch contends the report produced by the City Clerk is an attempt to prevent a vote rather than a sincere attempt to ensure signatures meet the requirements outlined in The Cities Act, pointing to several instances of the Clerk’s attempts to roadblock the petition which include: inappropriate telephone calls and messages, the unilateral decision to invalidate signatures that do not have the year as part of the date, and the request to have the provincial government raise the petition threshold while signatures were being collected.
“The report released today by the City Clerk only shows the unfair tactics used by the Clerk’s office,” says Holmes. “There is no question that of the 24,232 signatures submitted to city hall, there are enough signatures to require a vote.”
Despite the Clerks’ invalidation of the petition, Holmes says City Council still has the ability to do the right thing and order a binding vote on the resolution contained in the petition.
“If the City attempts to insert a biased question, we will take all actions possible to protect democracy, which could include court action,” says Holmes. “The level of trust in City Council is very low as a result of their secrecy and tactics. There must be a vote and it must be a fair vote.”
City Council will hold a special meeting to consider the petition on Monday, July 22, 2013, at 5:30 p.m.