Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dastardly Deed or Democratic Dilemma?

It isn't often I get to put a check mark into Councillor Clark's plus column but I agree with his comments on council's vote to lengthen terms of office (SP Jan.19/10). It is not up to the people who hold these offices to make the decision. In past, changes to local government elections have been made by the voters through referendum or plebiscite voting, usually preceded by debate. It is ultimate irony that the Mayor and Councillor Wyant cite cost efficiency as the reasoning for the decision as they are part of a council that spends with impunity.

I have a few other questions I would like to see go to a public plebiscite vote next election. Since voters are restricted to voting in the ward in which they reside, I think Councillors should reside within the ward they represent. Let's get the public's opinion on that issue.

If political parties are now active in civic elections, let's bring them out of the closet. Rather than speculating on whether a council is left or right wing, have it declared. Then we can create minority governments that can bring down a civic government that goes off the rails through a non-confidence vote - with no provision to prorogue.

At the same time we should remember that a ward system was touted as the opportunity to give the average citizen the opportunity to run, be elected and serve. Yet with each passing election we have a growing number of wards in which both council and school board candidates are acclaimed. If you have an election were both the councillor and trustee are acclaimed and the mayor's race is a forgone conclusion, why go vote if you have no choice. How about "none of the above" in those circumstances.

I agree with some form of voter ID. It would be so easy to vote several times in our civic elections and never get caught. And I wouldn't be concerned about "minimal standard" as suggested by Councillor Lorje. If people can come up with proper ID to buy tobacco and alcohol they should be able to come up sufficient ID to vote. Voting is not just a right but a privilege. No one worries about people being disfranchised when they are asked to provide identification and personal information in order to exercise the privilege of collecting benefits or pensions. The privilege of voting should not be less important.

Denizens of democracy debate this issue; or then again, just bitch about it.


  1. "It is ultimate irony that the Mayor and Councillor Wyant cite cost efficiency as the reasoning for the decision as they are part of a council that spends with impunity."

    <-- That's an interesting comment since Councillor Hnatyshyn was part of the council that moved us from a 'pay as you go' philosophy to 'borrow into the future'... thus opening the flood gate for mega-project spending and long-term debt.

    "If you have an election were both the councillor and trustee are acclaimed and the mayor's race is a forgone conclusion, why go vote if you have no choice. " <-- Clearly if you're SO unsatisfied with the declared candidates your choice is to run yourself. That's how our system works. Governance, democracy and elections are not a spectator sport.

  2. Ah, once again no thought provoking insight by critics of the Mistress. It is obvious that comments regarding her being part of the "borrow into the future council" shows a total disconnect to how Council works. I can't say I know how the mistress voted on every item while she was on council but I am positive her track record both as a Trustee and Councilor is one of respect for the taxpayers money.

    As to the item in this blog I agree with the Mistress on having the people speak to any changes to the voting requirements. I believe these elections cost the taxpayer dearly and should be used to better understand what the public wants or at least those that are interested in voting.

  3. A bit unfair TheGrizz since you sat as a trustee with her. If Respect for taxpayers money means voting against budgets year after year in both of her elected offices then you are correct.
    To her credit mistress has a point with the notion of asking the taxpayers what they would like (if you want the 25% of them who vote to decide), however in the end it is the provincial government that makes the rules. This is something that SUMA has been pushing for a while now and given the fact that they seem to get what they want I would guess it will happen.
    There may be merit in holding the provincial and municipal elections 2 years apart. It would at least help the taxpayer understand what the different issues are rather than confusing them during years when they fall near the same time like 2003.

  4. I am very much in favour of having a requirement that our elected politicians reside in the riding/ward they run in. If I, as a voter, must reside in the riding then those running should have to follow that same requirement.
    Grizz, why must you always run to Mistress's defense.Do you really think she needs that?
    Seldom does anyone here attack her personally.Having debate on the issues is important and should not be stifled. If this blog was simply intended to be a mutual admiration society and a melding of the identical boring it would be! And certainly not what Mistress intended.
    You are obviously a friend but it would be helpful if you'd let people express their views without your accusing them of personal attack. You seem to merely post here to regurgitate her views...have any of your own?

  5. I think those jumping on the Grizz should read back to what exactly he said. He wasn't defending the mistress, but rather noting that once again some Anon has quickly commented with the intention of discrediting the Mistress while adding virtually nothing to the conversation.

    I did not reside in Saskatoon at the time Mistress was on council,so I cannot say whether she indeed was the one responsible for overhauling the municipal government system to a 'borrow for the future' system. If she did, then perhaps she has realized her mistakes, if she didn't then shame on Anon for lobbing false accusations in an attempt to discredit what she says.

    Furthermore, regardless of what her track record was on council is she not entitled to state her opinion as it stands now? This could have been a good thought provoking thread, instead it turned into the all to familiar taking shots at one another.

    My thoughts, if, as it has seemed the last few council elections, that party politics are becoming more prevalent. Why not just run the elections simultaneous. It is already pretty easy to spot which candidate associates with which party. Let's just open the floodgates and allow them be open about it, save some money and have election all at once. Platforms would be more clear, and candidates would be able to build on the ideas of others.

  6. We have had party politics in civic elections for a very long time mostly by the NDP, this is not being ctitical just a statement of fact. The NDP ran and/or supported defeated MLAs in civic elections in the 80s. Bev Dyck, John Brocklebank and Paul Mostoway. Glen Penner showed up on council after a stint as a Liberal MLA. I don't recall any Torys but who in their right mind would have elected them anyway!


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