AUMA and our members support many of the practical changes to the Local Authorities Election Act (Bill 29) that enable fair elections. It is paramount that local elections remain local, and that any legislative amendments preserve the non-partisan, democratic processes that Albertans expect.
While we will take some time to reflect on the proposed changes, we stand behind the following principles of local elections:
- Democratic – Elections enable local citizens to select representatives who make decisions to create and sustain safe and viable communities.
- Autonomous – Municipalities are empowered to implement the will of their local electors within areas of their jurisdiction.
- Local – Local elections are dedicated to addressing locally-defined needs and issues.
- Inclusive and fair – Every eligible person can participate as a voter, contributor, or candidate, with minimal financial barriers. Candidates have an even playing field, regardless of whether they have run for office before.
- Enforceable – There must be clearly-established authority for ensuring election rules are followed.
- Scalable – Election rules are applicable and adaptable to local authorities of all sizes.
- Transparent – Election rules and processes are easy to access and understand, and voters have access to interim disclosure statements from candidates and third-party advertisers before the elections.
- Non-partisan – Candidates are elected to represent and be accountable to municipal residents, not a political party.
Some of the amendments give us pause. We will measure all the amendments against the above principles and will bring forward any changes that are needed to protect municipalities. Alberta’s municipalities need their own fair deal from the Government of Alberta – one that respects municipalities’ autonomy and the democratic process that gives municipal councils their mandate from Albertans. We have been assured by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs that they are willing to consider amendments to the bill that make local democracy more accountable.
We will engage our members, who represent communities where 85% of Albertans live, to advocate for changes to these pieces of legislation as appropriate. We also look forward to continuing to have productive conversations with our provincial government partners as we work together on a path forward that enables fair, transparent, and locally-focused municipal elections.
Please direct media inquiries to:
Communications Manager, AUMA