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This is an open letter to Premier Dennis King, Minister Jamie Fox and Cabinet. Most small, local Island municipal or town/village councils are made up of well-meaning, dedicated community members – these are largely underpaid or volunteer positions.
The mayor and councillors do not receive the remuneration commensurate with decisions of this magnitude, nor should they have to bear the brunt of community hostility over decisions this significant. The decision to amalgamate should never come down to a single vote by an individual councillor, it puts this councillor and his family in an untenable and an unenviable position in their community.
It is unfair to put the weight of a decision like amalgamation on their plates, this is a decision that will remake their communities in unforeseeable and unpredictable ways. That will change the nature of their governance, their infrastructure, their tax base and the relationships among the amalgamated communities well into the future.
Give residents the information they need to make this decision and make sure through a properly organized plebiscite that the weight of this decision is shared by the community. If you expect Islanders to cooperate after amalgamation, make sure you create an environment where their cooperation is sought before amalgamation. It is time to enshrine this right when your government amends the Municipal Government Act to reflect the true character of rural P.E.I. It is time to do things differently, to respect the democratic right of Islanders to vote on important issues and to honour that vote. So please, do the right thing, let Islanders vote on amalgamation.
Richard and Stacy Toms,