Note: An Addendum has been added to the end of this piece.
On November 19th the voters of Abbotsford will be voting Yes/No on using a P3 to finance, design and build an upgrade to Abbotsford’s water supply/infrastructure.
The use of a P3 has proven highly controversial and generated a great deal of opposition to private control of Abbotsford’s water supply and the higher cost to taxpayers of using a P3 to finance/design/construct the upgrade.
The large sign pictured is one of two that are erected at the corner of George Ferguson Way and Tretheway Street in Abbotsford, diagonally across the civic plaza and employee parking lots behind Abbotsford City Hall and was up as incumbent councillors were in the all candidates meeting (November 8th) denying the city was using intimidation and threats, or deceptive information to mislead voters to believe the vote on November 19th was about whether the water supply would be upgraded or not, in order to get voters to vote Yes to the P3.
The smaller sign sprouted on the corner of Clearbrook Road and Maclure Road on November 10th.
Given: that the November 19th in Abbotsford vote is only about whether or not to use a P3 to finance, design and build an upgrade to Abbotsford’s water supply/infrastructure and that the November 19th vote has NOTHING to do with whether Abbotsford needs to, or should, upgrade its water supply.
Then: the clear intent of this sign – “On November 19 Say YES to Water” – is to deceive voters into voting yes for Abbotsford’s Mayor and Council’s P3 proposal by misleading voters into believing the vote on November 19th is about whether or not to upgrade Abbotsford’s water supply/infrastructure.
And that: the appearance of the second, smaller sign makes clear that there is an organized attempt being made to deceive the voters of Abbotsford into believing that the P3 vote on November 19th is about whether Abbotsford’s water supply is upgraded/expanded and thus deceive voters into voting Yes to the P3 based on the false belief created about the purpose of the November 19th by this organized effort to deceive.
1. Who are the ‘concerned citizens ‘ who paid for these signs which are clearly designed to trick/deceive voters in Abbotsford into voting yes to the P3 by causing them to falsely believe that the November 19th vote is about whether or not to upgrade the water supply, when in truth the vote is only about whether to use a P3 to finance, design and build the upgrade?
2. How many more of these signs are posted around Abbotsford to deceive voters into voting yes to the P3 proposal put to referendum by Abbotsford’s Mayor and Council?
3. Can any group of ‘concerned citizens’ put up signs designed to trick and deceive voters into voting the way the ‘concerned citizens’ want them to vote during a municipal election and/or on referendum issues?
4. Or are the signs of these ‘concerned citizens’ being treated in a special manner because the signs refer people to the City’s site promoting the P3 and the signs are intended to deceive voters into voting Yes to the P3 proposal of Abbotsford’s Mayor and Council?
5. Does not the existence of these misleading signs bring the validity of a Yes vote and approval of the P3 into question as the signs will cause people to vote Yes based on false information?
6. If anyone can post misleading and/or deceptive signs or the ‘concerned citizens’ posting the signs are not required to identify themselves – do we not require the laws governing municipal elections to be changed to prevent the use of clear deception to bring about a desired result on a referendum or who is elected to civic office?
The signs referred to in the story have suddenly been joined by numerous other signs that have appeared across Abbotsford. Given the cost the signs represent it is clear that someone (or several someone’s) is spending a great deal of money in an attempt to deceive voters into voting Yes to the P3 by creating the false belief that a yes vote is a vote to increase the water supply while a no vote is a vote against expanding Abbotsford’s water supply.
It appears someone (or several someone’s) is prepared to spend a great deal of money and go to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the mayor and council’s P3 plan is approved.
Which raises several new questions:
Who are these wealthy ‘concerned citizens’?
Why are they spending so much money to ensure mayor and council’s P3 passes?
What, if any, effect did these ‘concerned citizens’ and their deep pockets have on the decision to go with a P3 despite the overwhelming evidence it was the poorest choice to u for the upgrade?