The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association will be holding a vote on a request for a decision from the City of Grande Prairie to keep local elections focused on local issues.
The ask is aimed at preventing Senate elections and provincial referendums from being held during local elections. It was discussed and sent to the AUMA by Grande Prairie city council.
Councillor Dylan Bressey says the concern stemmed from public consultation put forward by Minister of Municipal Affairs Kaycee Madu in February 2020. It asked the public their thoughts on everything from the length of the campaign period to campaign finances and third third-party advertising.
“What I’ve heard from colleagues in other municipalities is they’ve got the same concerns, so this is just a way to formalize it,” he explains. “It’s a way to check-in with other municipalities and saying we have this concern, do you have this concern too, and if so, formalize our agreement on this.”
Bressey says one of his biggest concerns is that if changes are made, ballots could be packed with several questions and causes, making the local level of government an afterthought.
“I want people to be informed when they vote, and it’s really hard to learn about municipal issues and candidates when you’re also considering provincial and federal candidates in the same election.”
Bressey says, if the vote passes, the AUMA board will take it as a direction from municipalities to start advocating towards the province. The AUMA says the upcoming vote and digital meeting session will also feature an update on the Local Authorities Election Act. The vote is expected to take place on June 18th.