Letter to the Editor: Constitution Bylaw

Rossland Telegraph
By Rossland Telegraph
November 3rd, 2008

Dear Editor,

This message is about who should be Rossland’s mayor for the next three years. Just yesterday the Supreme Court of Yukon released a decision in a case involving the City of Whitehorse and one of its citizens. Although far away from Rossland, this court decision has a Rossland connection.

Ten years ago the Yukon adopted a new Municipal Act with a division on Public Votes, a process to empower citizens to launch petition and hold binding referendums. The process was modelled after Rossland’s Constitution Bylaw, the very bylaw Rossland Council, under the leadership of Greg Granstrom, rescinded three years ago. Rossland Council had received two legal opinions on the status of the Constitution Bylaw, but what the Council of the day did not reveal to the community was that one [opinion] advised Council that the Province has the power to validate the Constitution Bylaw.

That was an example of the leadership provided by the Acting Mayor Greg Granstrom, the kind of secretive leadership continued by Mayor Gordon Smith after the last election. The Yukon court decision proves that the Constitution Bylaw process can be made legally binding. Of interest to Rossland is that the court case was about the right of citizens to petition council for a binding referendum on protecting waterfront property in the OCP. The judgment shows that council arrogance toward its own citizens is not unique to Rossland: it is alive and well in the Yukon too.

You have a choice to make in the coming election: Greg Granstrom or Mela Pyper. Greg has a track record of ignoring the will of the people, going so far as to remove their democratic right to express the will of the community in a calm and rational manner and withholding critical information from the people. Mela supports the principles of the Constitution Bylaw. With a council under Mela’s leadership Rossland may yet reclaim its role as a democratic pioneer.

Andre Carrel

[Editor’s note: a copy of the Yukon court decision mentioned in this letter is attached]

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