Skip to content

Commentary: No party politics at local level

Any plans Premier Smith may be harbouring to introduce party policies at the municipal level should be scrapped

As they always have, locally-elected town and county councillors continue to play a vital role in counter-balancing the power of the provincial government.

Providing valuable input to the MLAs and opposing those same MLAs when needed, local councillors ensure that residents are able to meaningfully voice concerns that arise from time to time with provincial government policies and plans.

As such any move to bring local governments into the party system – where the ruling provincial leaders could dictate the actions of towns and county councillors while silencing opposition whenever it proved convenient – should only be done with full public support.

The results of a government survey run from Nov. 7 to Dec. 6 appear to indicate that the vast majority of Albertans would certainly not now support any move to bring municipal elections under a party system.

In the survey, respondents were asked if they would support having electoral ballots amended to “allow political parties to be listed by municipal candidates.”

According to results obtained by media through a freedom of information request, of 7,680 respondents to the survey, more than 60 per cent were strongly opposed to adding political parties to municipal election ballots, with less than eight per cent being strongly in agreement.

The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) and the Alberta Municipalities (ABmunis), representing towns and counties across the province, have both come out strongly in favour of keeping party politics out of local elections.

“Partisanship in local politics would be a disappointment,” ABmunis officials said. “No longer could our local elected officials vote on what they believe is best for the community, but instead, they would be beholden to vote based on the ideology of the political party they represent.”

Locally-elected council members play an important role in balancing the power of the provincial government. As such, allowing provincial government leaders to command those same council members would be bad for Alberta. 

Any plans Premier Danielle Smith may be harbouring to introduce party policies at the municipal level should be scrapped.

Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.




push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks