MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY – Alberta’s rural municipalities should continue to not be affiliated with provincial political parties going forward, according to the Rural Municipalities of Alberta Association (RMA).
The province has opened a consultation/review process regarding the Local Authorities Election Act and the rules that govern municipal and school board elections, with stakeholder groups such as the RMA being asked to provide input.
Al Kemmere is the president of RMA and a Mountain View County councillor.
“I know that our main focus on the Local Authorities Election Act is to try to maintain that municipal government is not going to become a partisan type government,” said Kemmere. “I’m not saying that’s where it is leading, but that is one of our key focuses.
“We want municipal governments to remain non-partisan, not in a party structure. We want it to be strictly local elections, not affiliated to parties. It’s important that we maintain the non-partisan approach to municipal government.
“We’re not quite sure what is motivating this (review) and why they need to do it. We will find that out once we get engaged in the workshops which are slated for the third week of February."
In launching the consultation/review process, the provincial government said that while the Local Authorities Election Act was reviewed and revised following local elections in 2017, it continues to receive feedback suggesting gaps exist in the legislation.
In response, the government is asking for comments from stakeholders such as voters, elected officials, community advocacy groups and campaign volunteers.
“Albertans expect local elections to be fair, transparent and inclusive,” Kaycee Madu, minister of Municipal Affairs, said in a media release.
“This consultation will determine if and how we, as a government, can better meet these goals. While this will not be a wholesale review like the one in 2018, we are looking to Albertans for feedback on areas that can be improved before the next round of municipal and school board elections.”
The online survey component of the consultations can be found at Alberta.ca.
Respondents are being asked to provide input on such things as the length of municipal and school board election campaigns, nomination process, campaign finances, third-party advertising, and possible recall of municipal elected officials.
The government also plans to conduct discussions with representatives from municipalities and community advocacy groups, including the RMA.
“Feedback may be used to inform potential changes to the legislation, which could be brought forward in a future session of the legislature,” he said.
The Local Authorities Election Act governs elections for cities, towns, villages, summer villages, municipal districts, counties, specialized municipalities and school boards.