It’s not a referendum promise

To the editor,

South Bruce council and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) have tried to present the Dec. 14 motion as a promise for a referendum. The truth is, the current council cannot commit a future council to holding a referendum. By passing this motion, council is saying no to a referendum as part of the municipal election, avoiding a firm commitment to a future referendum, and instead are developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and a draft hosting agreement with the NWMO. Our municipal council is being led by the NWMO nine-step process and plan instead of pushing the NWMO and the municipal staff to finish their remaining critical studies in time for a decision at the Oct. 24, 2022 election. Why did council rush to pass this resolution without listening to all of the input from their residents? The timing of this motion raises some questions.

Council knew that Protect Our Waterways (POW) was presenting the results of the Our Risk Our Choice campaign on Jan. 11. The clerk “forgot” to include the open letter to council that included that we were coming to council at the beginning of January as part of the agenda. The letter was also sent to each councillor at that time, so every councillor had it available to read. Every household had been mailed a newsletter that included the Jan. 11 date and several councillors had received invitations from POW directors to meet before that presentation; yet nobody responded or even inquired as to how many residents had signed petition cards. They deliberately chose to ignore any voices that would not support their agenda.

Within days of the motion being passed, the NWMO has temporarily closed the local office for renovations. Were they expecting this motion so they knew they would get to stay in the community longer and/or are they worried the community might not be happy with this motion so they are “closed” to in-person discussions?

Despite the NWMO’s continued claims that the process is community-driven, both Ignace and South Bruce made their “willingness” announcements this week and both have selected options that prevent a decision by the current council and allow them to continue to follow the NWMO process and plan. Both communities are now moving forward with a MOU that could become the final draft hosting agreement.

South Bruce council has chosen not to take the opportunity to listen to, and to consider, the desires of a large group of residents who would like the referendum held as part of the municipal election. Council continues to ignore and insult the efforts of POW, but given their agenda that is to be expected. We are still planning to present the results of the petition on Jan. 11. It looks like new COVID restrictions may prevent a large outdoor rally, but if that is the case, we will come up with something. We will keep everyone informed.

Michelle Stein