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The Eight Pretenders – on council size and structure

Once upon a time there was a beautiful island that had seven townships, two villages, and a town.  Its People were happy.  They had a fair voting system.

Then one day along came the big bad Ogre of Amalgamation.  The Ogre disbanded the townships, the villages, and the town.  He created “The County” where voting was no longer fair.  The People thought that they did not really need fair voting, because in this beautiful place they could be “Happy Everafter” if only they could pretend that their community was still seven townships, two villages, and a town…and if they could also pretend that it had a fair voting system.

However, as Everafter came closer, the People realized that they were not happy.  They had elected a council of 16, by far the largest in their Province for a municipality of this size, but even these 16 could not make them happy.  Some of the People wanted to keep pretending that they still lived in seven townships, two villages, and a town, but others wanted their voting system to be fair again.  They remembered that when their voting was fair, they were happy.

The 16 tried and they tried, but they could not decide.  Some electors appealed to Council and to the OMB, complaining that their municipal voting system was not fair, as guaranteed in the Canada Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  In response, Council took many pieces of silver from the People, hired a Lawyer, and defeated the citizens’appeal.

The 16 could no longer pretend that they still lived in seven townships, two villages, and a town.  They could no longer pretend that the electors were happy.

“What will become of us?” cried the 16.  “We cannot decide, and the People are not happy,” they said.

“We must let the People decide,” said the Mayor…

So in a 2010 municipal election referendum the People had their say.  The People voted overwhelmingly in support of a resolution that their Council of 16 should initiate a public consultation to resolve the matter.  By a large margin they also elected a new mayor who had campaigned in support of the Peoples’ quest for electoral reform.  However, the People also inadvertently elected eight councillors who prefer to keep pretending that their beautiful island community is seven townships, two villages, and a town!  These eight prefer to pretend that their electoral system is fair, and that their attention to the County’s business is more important than the People’s democratic electoral rights.

In late September 2011 these eight “Pretenders” voted against the clear directive from the People of Prince Edward County to initiate a public consultation to resolve the matter.  Until these eight stop pretending, the People will be denied their democratic right to a fair voting system, and their beautiful island will continue to be a Protectorate of Inequity.

Jim McPherson, Milford

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Beth says:

    For once Doris I agree with you.

  2. Doris Lane says:

    Mark has got it correct. What is so difficult about the process he outlined.
    As he said get it done and attend to the real business. Even though the vote was a little shy of 50% it was clear that the people of the county want a new system
    We do not need a large council for our little community. Cut the council size cut some of the spending

  3. Jack Dall says:

    I absolutely agree with Mark. It does not mean that the old ward names will disappear as some have suggested. When it comes to representation the four geographical names will result in a better representation for the whole population, especially in the more sparser areas.

  4. Mark says:

    This is a great article. The 8 are hiding behind the fact that there wasn’t quite a 50% turnout at the polls. They know clear and well however that the majority of voters asked for reform. I say remember the 8 next election but then we won’t have reform for the next election will we.
    Amalgamation was meant to rid ourselves of our little territorial interests where all the councillors fought to get $$ for their little township.
    Very easily done, 4 Wards divided for equal population – SouthEast, West, North, Central. 2 councillors elected from each. At large a Mayor and Deputy Mayor are elected by all voters. A toatl of 10.
    So get it done and then tend to the real business that needs to be addressed.

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