REFERENDUM QUESTIONS
 
ROBERT KIRWAN - WARD 5
   

REFERENDUM QUESTIONS

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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.

REFERENDUM QUESTIONS

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 public?

COMMENTS

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, 2014
http://www.thesudburystar.com/2014/09/20/sudbury-accent-voters-to-decide-store-hours

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