Andre Carrel, Administrator of the City of Rossland, B.C. spoke on the topic:Democracy Advocates Want Votes - By Dan Hilborn, Burnaby Now Newspaper, October 26, 1997. The story of CDD's first public meeting - Courtesy of "TAXCAP"
"Seven years of direct democracy in Rossland".
Rossland is the first municipality in Canada to run by direct democracy.
Reimar Kroecher, MBA, Professor of Economics at Langara college, President of Canadians for Direct Democracy, spoke on the topic:
"130 years of direct democracy in Switzerland - possibilities for Canadians".
Alberto de Feo, Administrator of the City of Pitt Meadows spoke on the topic:
"Direct Democracy - New in Pitt Meadows"
This was followed by a question and answer period.
About 50 enthusiastic citizens attended the meeting.
About September 25th, 1997, an editorial in a Vancouver daily paper indicated that the Mayor of Pitt Meadows had cancelled the recently-granted right of binding referendum.
A petition bearing twice as many signatures as the number required for a referendum was about to be submitted to Council, calling for a referendum on the Swan-e-set golf course and condominium development.
The following E-mail correspondance is between DP, a citizen with a long-standing interest in direct democracy, Andre Carrel, Administrator of the City of Rossland, B.C., which has run under direct democracy since 1990, and a group of interested citizens with whom DP corresponds.
DATE: September 25, 1997
FROM: Andre Carrel
RE: Referendum Bylaw
Thank you for your inquiry.
On the subject of Pitt Meadows. I have been following the events in Pitt Meadows with interest. It is always easier to sit in the background and contemplate what one would have done, if ...
However, if this situation were to occur in Rossland, this is what my advice to my Council would be.
Do not fear a legal challenge. Change does not come easy, and it seldom comes without a defeat along the way and it never comes without an effort.
On the Pitt Meadows issue specifically, my advice would be:
1) repeal third reading of the OCP Amending Bylaw;
2) hold the referendum;
3) hold new Public Hearings and introduce the referendum results into the Public Hearings record,
4) place the OCP Amending Bylaw back on the agenda for Third Reading;
5) in Council's consideration of Third Reading, take all submissions of the Public Hearings, including the referendum results, in consideration as you vote on Third Reading;
6) if Council votes in the manner indicated by the referendum results, and if Council's decision is challenged in Court, defend your decision on the grounds that Council was elected to represent the citizens of the community;
7) if the Court strikes Council's decision down on the grounds that Council is not permitted to allow itself to be influenced by a citizen referendum, ordering Council to reconsider Third Reading of the OCP Amending Bylaw, do not comply with the Court order, resign en masse instead;
8) secure nomination in the ensuing by-election to be reelected to Council, run on the platform of honouring the will of the citizens of the community on the issue of the OCP Amending Bylaw.
For your information, enclosed is a paper I wrote recently on the topic of the democratic way. ("The Democratic Way" above)
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 1997 17:34:08 -0700
Subject: More Direct Democracy news at Pitt Meadows
1) By now you know that on Tuesday night, Pitt Meadows council voted unanimously to hold a referendum on the ($140 million) Swan-e-set development December 6th, 1997, because public pressure was too great to ignore.
Interpretation of the referendum result is ambiguous. The mayor says it is non-binding because technically the Municipal Act does not permit it. But the Pitt Meadows referendum bylaw decrees the result binding, and the referendum bylaw can be changed only by referendum, which will not happen.
Mayor Duncan says it will be up to each councillor to decide how to consider the result, and that Pitt Meadows may be sued.
2) The new clerk of the City of Pitt Meadows, Alberto de Feo, has held the position for five months. He applied for the vacancy BECAUSE Pitt Meadows had a referendum bylaw. He is from Italy where direct democracy has existed for 50 years.
He will forward background papers and the bylaw report that was adopted in 1996, and the minutes of the council meetings of the last two weeks. I will pass them on. The reports are not on the Pitt Meadows web site yet as he is still building it.
He has recently written a paper comparing direct democracy in Italy with direct democracy in Pitt Meadows and is working on another about the Pitt Meadows experience with direct democracy .
He is available to speak to groups interested in Direct Democracy.
Canadians for Direct Democracy wish to thank DP for his major contribution to this "Current Events" page.