PABRAG founder remains optimistic after petition to the City falls short

Herald file photo. Former city councillor Evert Botha listens to a speaker during a council meeting in October 2019.

Despite not meeting the 90-day time frame required to petition the City for a referendum, the Prince Albert Business & Residents Advocacy Group (PABRAG) are remaining confident in the future of their campaign.

PABRAG founder and former City Councillor Evert Botha said while they were close to their goal, the community-led organization will only be continuing on with their petition to the Government of Saskatchewan.

“We didn’t meet the threshold there in terms of the numbers, nor did we get those numbers together in time,” explained Botha, who said one of the biggest challenges they faced was not being allowed to get online signatures.

He said there was interest from the public to see the petition either online, through text message, or by phone, and getting it up online would have “definitely helped a lot”.

“In this day and age where everything is done online, including voting provincially, maybe this is something that the province should revisit for the cities in terms of the petition process,” said Botha. “It seems that it’s almost easier to vote in an election, municipal or provincial or federal, than it is to complete the petition”.

According to the Government of Saskatchewan’s ‘A Citizen’s Guide to Shaping Council Decisions’, only persons who are eligible to vote within the municipality are qualified to sign petitions requesting a referendum. In cities, signatures are required from at least 10 per cent of the population.

In addition to their signature, each petitioner must include:

            •           Printed surname and given names or initials;

            •           Civic address or legal description of land on which his or her status as a voter is based;

            •           The date on which the petitioner signed the petition; and

            •           The signature of a person who witnessed the petitioner signing the petition.

The petition must also be presented to the municipality within 90 days after the first person signs.

While they were unable to meet the demands set out to petition for a referendum, Botha said they’re staying motivated and are focused on hitting their goal for signatures on the petition for a forensic audit of the City within the next six weeks.

“Are we disappointed with not meeting the threshold? Of course we are, but PABRAG is not just about petitions and it’s not just about the City of Prince Albert,” said Botha. “When you look at the big scheme of things, we just want to make sure that everything that is done at a local level or at the provincial level or at the federal level is affordable and is good for the residents, the businesses and the organizations in the community.”

On Monday evening, PABRAG sent out a media release detailing what’s in store for the future of the organization.

“We are grateful for the thousands of individuals who have signed the petitions, and though we may not have reached the threshold required within the prescribed 90-day period- we’re most certainly not giving up on our commitment to our stakeholders- our supporters,” it read. “In coming weeks- we will be announcing our board members as we continue our journey towards establish meaningful engagement with all parties affected by crime, high taxes, concerned about the run-away debt load, City Council and Administration’s priorities and most importantly- the complete lack of public consultation and accountability.”

Updates on PABRAG can be found on their website and social media channels. Their petition to the Government of Saskatchewan for a Forensic Financial Audit of the City of Prince Albert continues online at and is open to all residents of the City of Prince Albert.