You were recently cited as saying that a referendum on LRT would not be effective as it could oversimplify complex issues and it would be expensive to administer.
1. Notwithstanding, would this not be an opportunity to ascertain with a higher degree of assurance what the will of Hamiltonians is where LRT implementation is concerned, particularly in light of the low turn out in the 2016 municipal election?
A referendum would not necessarily be the opportunity you suggest, as a referendum necessarily requires people to vote on a narrow question, and does not give options for answers beyond “yes” and “no”. The true will of the public could thus well be obscured by a referendum, rather than clarified.
2. As this issue has and continues to breed controversy, would the cost of a referendum and the finality it would bring to the question of LRT support, not be worth the expense?
I disagree. The huge cost of a referendum is a factor that we need to take very seriously. It is a key factor in my opposition to the idea. Council must respect taxpayers and the principle of fiscal responsibility.
3. While you appear to have a valid cautionary point with respect to the oversimplification that a referendum can bring, referendums have been used effectively to determine other complex matters. Why couldn’t it work in Hamilton on the LRT issue?
Sometimes referenda serve democracy. In this case, the question of LRT and transit planning is too complex to be an appropriate set of questions for a referendum.
Thank-you Clr. Johnson for engaging with Hamiltonians on The Hamiltonian