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Councillor to consult public on Internet voting

Public response calls for more input, MacKay says

By: By Peter Boer

  |  Posted: Saturday, Mar 02, 2013 06:00 am

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One councillor’s motion to allow the public to vote on council matters using the Internet has been put on hold until he can hold an open house on the issue.

Instead of bringing forward his motion Monday, Coun. Cam MacKay instead said he wants to personally hear from the public before he asks council to debate it. He has postponed his motion until summer.

MacKay said he’s heard from several members of the public since putting the motion forward and wants to hear from more.

“I got such a huge response out of that idea, moreso than I was expecting,” MacKay said. “I figure there needs to be a bit more refinement to the idea.”

MacKay would like city administration to explore using Internet voting during council meetings so the public can chime in on council votes. While the Municipal Government Act currently prohibits such a practice, MacKay has said using something akin to a web poll might be a good starting point. He said some members of the public even have their own ideas.

“Some people thought a telephone poll during a council meeting might work,” MacKay said. “I had envisioned more of a voting the day before, then council shows up and knows the result. So (I) just kind of want to learn what the public says about this.”

MacKay doesn’t yet have a date for the open house but said it will likely happen between now and June.

MacKay will organize the event without any city support or funding. Council held its only open house of 2013 last weekend on the subject of LRT. Because 2013 is an election year, council voted not to hold any more open houses to avoid the perception that they could be used for campaign purposes.

“I will just do one on my own,” MacKay said. “I’m not displeased about that because I have a bit more flexibility.”

Mayor Nolan Crouse said MacKay is more than welcome to hold an open house, provided it is done under his name only.

“Anybody can have one. I can have one tomorrow,” Crouse said. “But it’s mine.”


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