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There are three questions that will be put to the voters on
October 27, 2014 as part of a Referendum.
In order for the Referendum to be binding, a minimum of 50% of
the eligible voters are required to cast a vote on the question.
The majority of that vote will determine if retail business
establishments are allowed to open on December 26 if they so
wish or if they will have to remain closed.
Despite the turn-out, I feel that City Council will have to
decide on the questions early in the New Year 2015 and make a
decision once and for all. We cannot leave these issues sitting
on the back burner. My opinion is that if the voter turnout is
less than 50%, we must go with the majority of those who do
turn out to vote.
Question 1: Are you in favour of retail business establishments
having the choice to open to the public on December 26?
Question 2: Are you in favour of retail business establishments
having the choice to open to the public on the Civic Holiday,
the first Monday in August?
Question 3: Are you in favour of allowing retail business
establishments to choose the hours when they are open to the
These are very important issues for our city and could change
the way we do business. The argument about whether or not stores
should have the right to stay open on December 26 is something
that has split our community for many years.
I am not sure whether or not the Civic Holiday will have much of
an impact either way on our community.
Allowing retail business establishments to choose the hours they
are open to the public is a huge decision and will definitely
have an impact if this is voted on by the public. This is
perhaps the most important question that will be decided upon
and will have the most direct impact on the lifestyle of local
residents and business owners.
THIS IS NOT UP TO CITY COUNCILLORS
There are some candidates for City
Council who have gone on record as being in favour of allowing
retail stores to choose their own hours. Some state that if we
continue with the status quo we are demonstrating that our city
is not friendly to business and so we should not be dictating
when businesses should be open. Some argue that by restricting
store hours we are not going to be able to attract new business
or new residents.
I really donít have any kind of personal position on the store
hour issue, and even if I did, plan on listening to the voters.
If the turn-out is less than 50% and City Council is required to
make the decision, then as the representative of Ward 5 I will
be voting according to the results of my particular Ward. I will
not be voting on my personal preference. We allowed the public
to vote on this matter and regardless of the turn-out we must
listen to the public. After all, if the actual turn-out of
voters was good enough to elect councillors and the mayor, then
those voters should be the ones deciding on the referendum
questions as well.
I think this is an important point for
candidates to accept. We are elected to represent the will of
the majority of our constituents. We do not often have the
luxury of a public referendum to determine the will of the
people. Most of the time we are going to have to do our homework
and get out among a variety of segments of our Ward to truly be
able to determine what the people want. But in this case, the
voters will have cast their vote and it is going to be clear
which way Ward 5 residents voted.
For a candidate to state that he is
going to vote one way or the other prior to the election is not
being responsible and is something that the constituents should
pay attention to prior to the vote. I do understand that if I am
elected to represent Ward 5, I am elected to represent Ward 5. I
am not elected so that I can vote according to my own
preferences on issues that come to City Council. I am also not
elected so that I can ignore the will of the people in a
referendum vote where there is a clear majority.
Therefore, residents of Ward 5 can rest
assured that I will be voting according to the results of the
voting in Ward 5. I don't care if all of the other Wards vote
differently. I don't care if Ward 5 is the only Ward that voted
one particular way on a question. That will be the vote I argue
for and the vote I cast at Council, because I am elected to
represent Ward 5, not the City of Greater Sudbury.
Sudbury Star Article - September 20,
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