Where are we at one year after the referendum? Have all the promises of savings been kept? Check out this opinion piece from Saturday's Leader-Post by Jim Holmes, which has crunched some of the numbers.
Information obtained by Regina Water Watch through a freedom of information request to the City of Regina reveals that the city-run “Vote No” campaign overspent its $340,000 budget by 20%, racking up $408,594.96 in costs during the referendum on the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
An article in the November 8 Regina Leader-Post about Mayor Fougere's recent appearance in Toronto on a panel at the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships conference quotes Fougere as saying that "We would never consider a P3 on water." Fougere also commented that he can't see "having another large project that would be a P3" in the near future.
The City of Regina has selected three private consortiums from the request for qualifications (RFQ) process to compete for the contract for Regina's new P3 wastewater treatment plant. The consortiums selected to move into the request for proposal (RFP) phase are: EPCOR Saskatchewan Water Partners, Prairie Water Partners, and Wascana Environmental Partners.
According to city documents, even the two unsuccessful consortiums will each receive $250,000 of taxpayer money just for submitting a bid.
The official referendum results from the September 25 wastewater referendum have been released by the City of Regina.
In a Sept 25 blog post, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - Saskatchewan's Simon Enoch argues that "We need to establish very clear rules for how City-wide referenda should be conducted in the future and we need very specific rules on how the City communicates with the voters on the referendum issue."
The Leader-Post reports today that US Republican public relations firm Front Porch Strategies, which has been implicated in the Harper Conservatives' robocall scandal, is taking a piece of the City's $70,000 no-campaign robocall budget:
An American communications company is getting a piece of the city's referendum campaign budget for its involvement in Mayor Michael Fougere's telephone town halls.
Front Porch Strategies, based in Delaware, Ohio, was hired by the City of Regina's polling firm, Direct Marketing Services in Saskatoon, to help carry out three teleforums, said the city's communications manager Deb McEwen.
Front Porch Strategies' website says "our passion is helping Republican candidates, elected officials, and conservative causes win by connecting them with voters and constituents".
The firm was also used by a number of Conservative MPs during the 2011 federal election, according to news reports.
For more detail on Front Porch, its past work, and its involvement in the Regina Referendum, see this write-up from Scott Harris of the Council of Canadians.
Regina Water Watch has sent another letter to Minister of Government Relations Jim Reiter about mounting irregularities in the advance polls in Regina's waste water referendum.
REGINA – Scrutineers in advance polls in Regina’s wastewater referendum have reported that polling clerks are instructing voters on how to answer the referendum question.
In at least two cases, a clerk offered the instruction, “Vote yes for Regina Water Watch, vote no for City Council,” while handing the ballot to voters. When Regina citizen Mary Arpin went to vote, the poll clerk gave unsolicited conflicting information, ending with the comment, “a 57 million dollar difference.”
Poll clerks are not allowed to indicate how a person should vote, nor to give information on behalf of either candidate or position. The comment clearly gave a voter the NO side messaging promoted by the City.
One of the key arguments by P3 privatization proponents is that going with the plan would mean that the City of Regina is able to "transfer risk" to the private corporation. In an informative blog post, economist Toby Sanger looks at the facts behind risk and cost associated with the proposed P3.