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AUMA passes Grande Prairie resolution to keep local elections local

The City of Grande Prairie has seen near-unanimous support from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association on its push to keep Senate elections and provincial referendums off of municipal election ballots. The Request for Decision was passed with 95 per cent support during a session Thursday.

“I was really pleased to see that we had local leaders from across the province… speaking in support of this motion,” says Mayor Bill Given. “It really was heartening to see that leaders across the province at the municipal level in cities of all sizes believe that local elections to be reserved for local matters.”

The passing means the AUMA can now lobby governments on the issue. Given explains the city’s concern is that residents will not have enough time to concentrate on local issues if other matters are at stake as well.

“We want people to think about who they’re electing to their local town council or city council, to think about the positions and issues… and we want people to be able to focus on that. There is absolutely a time and a place for provincial and federal discussions; we just don’t believe it’s at municipal election time.”

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The motion put forward asked members to support maintaining local elections for local issues and suggested that municipalities should be appropriately compensated if other matters make it onto the ballot. Before being approved it was amended to remove the reference to compensation.

“We did hear from a number of municipalities that they really wanted to focus on the core issues of local elections reserved for local matters so we were happy to amend the resolution to focus more on the core issue.”

The decision came a day after the provincial government said a referendum on equalization payments and Senate representative election could be held at the same time as the 2021 municipal elections.

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