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.