Les MacPherson in a column I wanted to write:
If ever there was a perfect issue for a referendum, it is curbside recycling. So, of course, we’re not getting a referendum.
By a margin of 7 to 4, city council has decreed that we, the people of Saskatoon, shall not get a vote on curbside recycling. We cannot be trusted to make the correct decision. We will do as we are told, henceforth and forevermore, every time we take out the garbage.
Read the whole thing. Nothing sums up my position on the whole ridiculous mandatory curbside recycling debate better.
Not bringing the issue to a referendum is a slap in the face to those who believed that city council ever cared what they thought in the first place. Actually, scratch that — the slappers in this case are the seven councillors who voted against the referendum motion: Pat Lorje, Charlie Clark, Darren Hill, Tiffany Paulsen, Glen Penner, Mairen Lowen, and Bev Dubois.
These seven are saying to us that we can’t be trusted to decide whether a major, multi-million-dollar program, which could last in perpetuity given past experience with useless programs, should go ahead.
Glen Penner tells us that he’s worried that if we hold a referendum over this issue, people will want to vote on every issue that comes up.Is that such a bad thing? Could we not have a referendum vote for, say, the new art gallery (a project I do support)? Or to raise money to get the north bridge built? Isn’t that how democracy is supposed to work? We don’t have to vote on everything; just on those new programs, major capital expenses, and tax increases beyond, say 5% or the rate of inflation, whichever is more.
Pat Lorje is concerned that Saskatoon is the only mid-sized city in North America without a program. If that is too much for her to bear, I have two suggestions. She could move to Edmonton. If that doesn’t suit her, she could always try therapy. I am not obliged to console her embarassment.
Darren Hill, who during the last municipal campaign (and before he was trounced by Brad Trost in the federal election) told Sutherland residents to dump their garbage on the curb for others to scrounge through, says that we are only diverting 23% of the waste in this city. I’m not sure if he means 23% of recycled waste or total waste or what, but I am sure that this number does not include the recyclable product picked up by Saskatoon Curbside. I got news for you, Hill: just because the government isn’t doing it doesn’t mean it ain’t getting done.
Now, I’m all for meaningless gestures. I recycle. The Better Third makes me. I don’t mind too much, because my system is pretty simple. Every couple months, we pack up the old newspapers and boxes and drop them off at the Cosmo depot. Then we take whatever cans and bottles we have over to SARCAN and collect our five bucks or whatever we get. There’s no extra dumpster on my tiny lot. There’s no running around in the morning of my scheduled pickup day in my good work clothes trying to haul out multiple blue bins. It’s just a quick errand we run on our way to Walmart or wherever we’re going that Saturday afternoon. I don’t need curbside recycling, I don’t want curbside recycling, and I sure as hell don’t want to pay for curbside recycling.
But it all comes down to those seven councillors. As Kathy Shaidle likes to say, these people aren’t smart enough to tell me how to live. This goes doubly for these seven geniuses who obviously have too much time and too little regard for other people’s money.
My call to action, then, is this. Vote the bums out. Make the next municipal election a referendum on the recycling issue anyway. Become a one-issue voter. Tell them you don’t need a new, expensive program of dubious environmental merit. Tell them that if you want to recycle, you want a choice as to how and by whom. Tell them that your voice actually does matter, that you can make an informed choice on your behalf.
But most of all, tell them to start preparing their resumes, because they are going to have to start working for a living once again.
Vote them out.