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by Suzanne Gammon
As promised, Lise Sénécal was at town hall on Jan. 9 presenting WN Council with a petition asking for a referendum on policing services. The petition, started just after WN Council voted in a 6-2 split, on Dec. 5, to replace the WN Police Service with the OPP, garnered 1519 signatures in just a month, she announced.
Sénécal elaborated at length on why she had been the initiator of the petition, after some had suggested she was using the issue to raise her profile and kick start her bid for a seat at council in the upcoming municipal election.
“I would like to clarify why it’s me,” she said, adding she wanted to clear up “misconception.”
Sénécal went through her involvement in municipal politics in the past, having been a past councillor for Sturgeon Falls and then West Nipissing, and said she recently moved back after living in Sudbury for a number of years. “I’m a taxpayer and resident of WN. (…) I have this municipality at heart,” she stated.
“I never came here with the intention of stirring the pot,” added Sénécal, but she said after attending the public meeting on policing in November and then seeing council make a decision just two weeks later, she felt compelled to act.
Sénécal compared the process to the policing decision made in 1999, just after municipal amalgamation, when she sat on council. “Two years, we worked on it. (…) We went to every ward” for public meetings, she said. “I wanted to vote with facts.”
Sénécal said many others felt, like her, that council’s Dec. 5 decision was rushed and the petition asks that it be reversed, with the question of policing put on the ballot in the 2018 election in October. She took exception to some calling it “Sénécal’s petition”, saying that others were involved in promoting it and that over 10% of eligible voters signed it willingly.
“What people have been telling us” while signing the petition, are things like ““it was not fair”, “we want answers”, “we never got a chance” (…) and this is a decision we will have on our backs for years to come,” she stated.
Lise Sénécal presents WN municipal council with a petition, signed by 1,519 residents, asking that they reverse their decision to replace the WN Police with the OPP, and put the question on the ballot during the October 2018 municipal election. The presentation was made at town hall during the Jan. 9 WN Council meeting.