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REPORTING · 26th March 2014
Walter McFarlane
Kitimat City Council received a surprise presentation at the end of their Committee of the Whole on Monday, March 23rd. Murray Minchin from Douglas Channel Watch had a couple of burning questions about the upcoming Plebiscite.

“Members of the community have been coming to us for clarification on the rules behind the Plebiscite. How much scrutiny is going to be afforded to the voting process and there is some concern in the community on those issues,” said Minchin.

He expressed the playing field is not level, Enbridge is spending more than any third party would be allowed in a Provincial Election as a part of their ‘multimedia advertising blitz.’

Minchin said both Douglas Channel Watch and members of the community, and perhaps Mayor and Council as well, would not like the results of the plebiscite tainted by Voter Fraud and they are concerned about how residents of the community will be identified.

He asked for the advanced ballots to be kept apart because, as he understood it, they would just be dumped into the regular ballot box. Finally, he asked who will be identifying locals at the voter’s stations.

“These examples leave many opportunities for voter fraud to occur and we suggest that the Enbridge Plebiscite is of such importance that it deserves the same level of caution as a Provincial or Federal election.

CAO Ron Poole told him, because this is a non-binding Plebiscite, the rules have been relaxed. There are areas where people can cheat, but there are areas where people can cheat in a Provincial Election. The goal is to garner input from the current residents of Kitimat.

“And cheating can arise on either side,” added Mayor Joanne Monaghan.

“We are hoping most people are honest,” said Poole.

Councillor Phil Germuth asked if anyone coming in with an address at number 1 Smelter Site Road would be allowed to vote. He was told no, because it would not prove permanent residence.

Shirley Boudreault explained that if people are unsure if they are qualified, they will be asked if it is their primary residence. If they do not understand what this means, they will be asked if this is the address they put on their income tax and if there is another address which they return to after temporary absences.

“If they can’t show a driver’s license with a Kitimat Address, then we will go the next step and ask the questions,” said Boudreault.

If someone is already on the list, they will not have to show ID. They just have to sign to get a ballot.

Councillor Corinne Scott clarified what has been relaxed, the 6 months BC residency and Canadian Citizenship. The voter still needs to be a resident of Kitimat. Minchin stated they found out this was miscommunicated to the public during their door knocking.

There are no rules for monetary spending during the campaign, these rules are also not in place for municipal elections.

Boudreault also explained how mail in ballots. They are given to people who show up to the office. She guards them. They are secure. They are added to the advance poll so if all of the ballots which are mailed in are one answer, then the District knows how they voted.

“We do the best we can and we hope people are decent,” said Boudreault.

Councillor Rob Goffinet stated he hoped the staff would remain professional.

Boudreault explained the topic of scrutineers. They will only be present for the count and are limited to one scrutineer per side per location, 3 yes, 3 no. There will not be scrutineers to observe the proceedings itself.

One of the problems they had was in finding scrutineers. There were three slots per side. There were three people who immediately signed up for the yes side. There were no people from the no side so Douglas Channel Watch was contacted to put names forward.
Vote then what
Comment by Vern on 30th March 2014
I do plan to vote but I wonder what is done with the result. It appears the Haisla can not take part in it which is something I can not understand so the ones that are most affected have no say? The vote is Non-Binding so carries no legal weight. It will be interesting to see what kind of voter turn out we get because if it is poor it will not mean much, my hope is we get a good turn out otherwise it just a waste of taxpayer money.
Comment by CC on 27th March 2014
Unbelievable that the Kitimaat Village cannot vote. The tankers will be in THEIR front yard.

This is sickening. So unfair.

Is there not something that can be done to include them? Great that Kitimat has the vote BUT the Village is affected just as much and has just as much of a right - if not more so.

Something should be done about this.

Almost makes me feel like we're slamming them once again, purposely taking away any rights they have. How very convenient. I feel like I've just stepped back in time when the powers that be pulled the wool over our First Nation's rights. This continues to happen and I can't believe we stand at the side and watch this happen.

I asked the District...
Comment by Walter McFarlane on 27th March 2014
I asked the district if Kitamaat Village was able to vote and the response I recieved was: they are not on the voters list, they do not vote in the municipal elections as they have their own Council. However, if they are residents of Kitimat, they may vote.
Traditional Territory
Comment by Haisla Mamaoo on 27th March 2014
The Haisla should be allowed to vote as the district of Kitimat is WITHIN the traditional territory of the Haisla, not the other way around. Everything that you do affects all of us!!!!
Notice of Plebiscite
Comment by Lucy McRae on 27th March 2014
I personally have not seen an official Notice of Plebiscite. I looked in my free Connector newspaper but it was not there. I can only guess that it may have been in the Northern Sentinel, but I do not buy that paper and do not know anyone who does buy that paper. I actually went looking for that paper when I couldn't find the Notice in the Connector, but unfortunately by then I guess that particular Sentinel paper had been sold out.
I'm curious if any other residents of Kitimat have had this same problem?
angry resident
Comment by angry resident on 26th March 2014
this is unfair, you are taking out the people who are most affected by this! way to get a guaranteed yes, kitimat.
Sorry but no the Haisla can't vote
Comment by Larry Walker on 26th March 2014
According to the rules so far....they do not have a Kitimat address (they are located outside the towns city limits. This a wrong, totally wrong.
Comment by Vern on 26th March 2014
I also wonder if people living in Kitimaat village get to vote they should be allowed. What about people that are living in Multi level care at the Hospital who can not get out, will something be set up for them.
Should I cheat or not
Comment by CC on 26th March 2014
Are you kidding me? The rules are relaxed? So the whole coast can be devastated with one tanker because the "rules are relaxed" ??? Enbridge can move on in and promise 100 jobs give or take because of relaxed rules? Of course the argument can go both ways. The point is don't the powers that be take this seriously? The fishing industry, the balance of nature, the future generations?

Obviously this is all a game of ping pong to those who set the rules. This is not a game. This is a historial event that can and will impact everyone. The thing is the ones who have morals and care about their self respect will not cheat. And so how balanced is it for Monaghan to say cheating can arise on either side. Is this woman for real? Mayor Monaghan it is YOUR responsibility as Mayor to ensure that rules are in place and that all is done fairly. If you want to be so nonchalant why don't you go and start planting grass - then you can sit back and see if it grows or not. You don't have the option of having such a cavlier attitude in this case. The residents of Kitimat, the whole of B.C. is counting on you to do your job on THEIR behalf. A vote matters. And to expect cheating is wrong. In fact if you are aware that a rule is lax and can permit cheating then you must fix it. Two wrongs don't make a right. Grow up. People SHOULD have to show their driver's lic's.

In Calgary here we had an instance several years ago where the same scenario played out: residents didn't have to show their driver's lic. and so people that didn't want to vote had others go in their stead but it was the counterfeit's vote that ended up counting. A rule now is in place that every voter must show driver's lic. Heck the way you think Ms. Mayor Kitimat may as well just draw straws.

I urge all to vote, no matter your choice of vote. Hopefully the amount of true votes will cancel out any false ones. There are advance poles that will be open and why doesn't every just cast their vote early instead of waiting until the day. Too often one has something that prevents them from voting and that vote doesn't get cast. And I do believe one can take time off to cast their vote - at least for the prov/federal votes they can. I can't think of anything else that could help in this ridiculous situation.
Comment by Another Observer on 26th March 2014
CAO Ron Poole told him, because this is a non-binding Plebiscite, the rules have been relaxed. "There are areas where people can cheat, but there are areas where people can cheat in a Provincial Election. The goal is to garner input from the current residents of Kitimat.

“And cheating can arise on either side,” added Mayor Joanne Monaghan.

“We are hoping most people are honest,” said Poole.

So I am confused by this statement.

Am I supposed to cheat in this election?
And if so how does one go about doing that.

Is there some sort of code?

up up down down left right left right b a start
Long time Kitimat resident
Comment by . on 25th March 2014
I must say I am very dissapointed in this entire Plebisite and the vote has not even happened yet. Correct me if I am wrong but I think the residents of Kitimat and also Kitimaat Village understand this vote is important. To bad council is conducting this vote in a relaxed rules style. Just shows once more how our council operates. I really hope everyone remembers these things next time elections are held for mayor and council. Hats off to Douglas Channel Watch for stepping up to the plate on this issue,... I think I am going to join their group! I do hope the residents of Kitimaat Village have the chance to vote as well but I did not see any mention of that in this article?