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Voters Expect Promise Keeping To Be On McGuinty’s New Year’s Resolution List

     A majority of voters, in what used to be Victoria County, expect Ontario’s new Premier to add keeping a de-amalgamation promise to his New Year’s resolution list.

     The Victoria County Yes! Campaign, a grassroots advocacy group that campaigned in support of de-amalgamation, says it expects Premier McGuinty to live up to his undertaking by implementing the outcome of a November 10th vote to de-amalgamate the City of Kawartha Lakes.

     Spokesperson Paul Pagnuelo said that in February 2002 then Opposition Leader Dalton McGuinty committed in writing that a Liberal government would ensure a binding referendum would be held to allow local citizens to determine whether or not to dismantle the amalgamated city.

     “A referendum initiated by the former Minister of Municipal Affairs has been held. The question was clear. The threshold of victory was clear. The result was clear. A majority of people and a majority of wards voted `Yes’ to de-amalgamate. The only mayoralty candidate who ran on a `de-amalgamation’ ticket was elected,” said Pagnuelo.

     The November 10th referendum although technically non-binding was as binding as a referendum can be under Ontario law.

     Pagnuelo explained that because restructuring is not within municipal jurisdiction, the question couldn’t be put under municipal referendum legislation. This is why it was put on the ballot as a Minister’s question.

     “We expect the Premier to honour the results of this referendum as though it was binding and to allow the restoration of Victoria County and its sixteen lower tier municipalities to proceed as expeditiously as possible.”

     Pagnuelo said the Victoria County Yes! Campaign has sent an e-mail to all Ontario MPPs asking for their support in holding Premier McGuinty accountable for his pre-election campaign undertaking.

     He also had a message for the recently elected City of Kawartha Lakes council, which is scheduled to meet with Municipal Affairs Minister John Gerretsen behind closed doors at Queen’s Park on January 14th.

     “The majority have voted to undo amalgamation, not to consider other alternatives to de-amalgamation as has been suggested by the Minister. Council has no mandate other than to respect the outcome of the November 10th vote.”

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