If you haven't been following the ordeal that is happening at the City of Regina's City Clerk's Office, regarding verifying the signatures on the Wastewater Treatment Facility Petition, you've been missing out on some really interesting stuff! Stuff that, in my opinion, is clearly violating the Cities Act, and thus, certainly opens the City of Regina to even more legal action.
It came to the attention of many this week that the City of Regina City Clerk's Office (who is supposed to remain "independent") has been calling people to verify the exact information that is contained on the petition. There is so much wrong with this, I don't know where to start, but I will try.
First off, as a quick backgrounder on this situation, the City Clerk's Office first tried to apply to the Provincial Government to make the required number of signatures even higher than the already ridiculously high number (10% of population - even more than voted for Mayor Fougere). Secondly, they went through with a fine tooth comb and picked apart the petition and struck any signatures that were "incomplete", most notably those that didn't contain a "valid date". This struck a chord with many taxpayers, in that they shook their head at how ridiculous this action was. For the City Clerk, Joni Swidnicki, with the alleged consultation of the City's astute "legal team", to go out of her way and deem that ANY signature on that petition was done in any other year than 2013, is not only ridiculous, but borders incompetence, in my opinion. The WWTP P3 deal wasn't even public knowledge until February 2013, and most certainly we haven't mastered time travel yet, so therefore ANY signature on that petition that states a month and date after the first signature, should be deemed valid. Common sense. End of argument.
THEN, this week, I hear that the City Clerk's Office, Joni and Ashley, are now calling people to confirm not only that they SIGNED the petition, but that the information contained is valid, including if they are supposedly a valid voter. For anyone that is curious, you can read SS 108(3) & SS 108(4) of the Cities Act (http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/english/Statutes/Statutes/c11-1.pdf), about what I am about to talk about. If you are one of these "lucky people" that happen to be "randomly selected", please do keep record of it, as it will be valid evidence in a Court of Law very soon.
The Cities Act very clearly states in SS 108(4):
"the Clerk may use a random statistical sampling method with a 95% confidence level to determine the sufficiency of the petition INSTEAD OF VERIFYING that the requirements of SS(3) have been met with respect to each petitioner."
they are using BOTH SS(3) AND SS(4) which is in clear violation of the Cities Act. Yes, it's a technicality - who knows how BIG of a technicality - but certainly one that I would expect would hold up in a court of law. If they feel that they can find a loophole to void the petition, you bet your ass I'll find a loophole to ensure the petition is VALID and their "due process" is violating the Act.
Section 107 is pretty clear, as well, that, by signing the petition, you are attesting that you are indeed a valid voter, and you have not signed the petition before.
I'm no lawyer, but to me, this would mean that simply the act of signing the petition should be deemed enough evidence by the Clerk's office that they meet all requirements. All they should be allowed to do - if they choose to ignore SS 108(3) - is calling to verify people actually signed the petition, or better yet, mailing them.
ONLY IF THEY HAVE A LEGAL CONCERN should they be applying to the COURTS to challenge if a signatory is invalid.
This should be making National Headlines, but Regina's mainstream media is so good at painting a picture of "everything's fine here, move along", that it's sticking here close to home - for now.
Have a great weekend everyone!