Opinion: Rocky View sinks to new low in public relations

By Enrique Massot
The County News

An attempt to polish an image tarnished by an endless series of antics is shown in the County’s latest, clumsy public relations operation.

The most recent attempt to polish an image tarnished by an endless series of antics is shown in the County’s latest, clumsy public relations operation.

Just days before the start of the election campaign, Rocky View has issued a “fact sheet” that claims to be “Setting the Record Straight on Municipal Elections.”

“Some misinformation is being circulated that is causing concerns among residents,” the four-page document states.

The text offers minutious details and convoluted explanations that attempt to justify the use of multiple voting stations that council will, in any event, support on Sept. 12.

See Rocky View’s 2017 Election Fact Sheet – Setting the Record Straight

It also leaves out arguments that have been made in support of creating a list of electors or at least single voting stations per division to reduce opportunities for double voting.

Rocky View firefighters and residents at a Balzac Hall Scrutineer School April 30. Photo: County News archive


But the document sinks to its lowest level in the section headlined “Scrutineers.” Let’s see:

“It has been incorrectly reported that fire fighters will be acting as scrutineers in the 2017 municipal election,” the “fact” sheet states.

(The County News stands by its report about the initiative).

The “fact” sheet then expands:

“This incorrect information stems from the International Association of Fire Fighters union offering their members as scrutineers.” (Emphasis mine).

Then, the text goes on to reveal the “ultimate truth:”

“However, only if a candidate chooses to have a union representative as a scrutineer, and only if that union representative meets the legislated requirements for the position of scrutineer, can that person be present in a voting station.”


So what are those “legislated requirements” according to the Local Authorities Election Act?

No big deal. Pretty much anyone can be a scrutineer. To become one, all they need is a designation by a candidate, be at least 18 years old and not been, within the previous 10 years, convicted of an election-related offence. Scrutineers must also sign, before the presiding deputy at the voting station, “a statement in the prescribed form.”

End of story.

So what was “incorrect” in the statement about firefighters volunteering as scrutineers for candidates who choose to take their offer?

Nothing. The truth is, the “Scrutineers” section and the whole “fact” sheet is nothing but an attempt to muddy the waters and try to show in a bad light a worthy initiative of the Rock View firefighters.

We don’t know how much this “fact” sheet has cost the taxpayers. But the big question is why is the County staff is spending time and energy trying to improve the image of current councillors intending to run again.

  • G. Wilson

    Maybe they prefer “improprieties”, seems that way.

  • John Morgan

    Not surprising that the County is working hard to clear the air. I’ve lived here for over 20 years and I’ve been hearing about voting impropriety and other shenanigans surrounding our council since we moved, I’ve even heard stories from former employees and I have no reason to disbelieve any of them.
    Now that corruption and possible voter fraud have been brought up by the residents the county scrambles to produce this poorly thought out “fact sheet”. Should their time and effort not go towards making the process more transparent? Should they not list who is accountable if there is a proven case of voter fraud?
    Instead of burying their heads in the sand and denying that any of the allegations are plausible can they not work with us to ensure adequate measures are in place to prevent improprieties and, as a result, quell the rumours and accusations? It seems so simple, really, when you put your mind to it.

  • Gloria wilkinson

    More drivvle from the Communications Department – that has NO reason to exist in RVC.