Residents in the City of Grande Prairie who want to try their hand at becoming a member of city council now have their chance, as the nominations for the 2021 municipal election are now open.
To officially throw your hat in the ring, there are a couple of items that need to be ticked off the list, including gathering at least 25 signatures from eligible voters to run. That number is up from just five after changes to the Municipal Election Act went into effect on January 1st.
On top of the signatures, a financial commitment in the form of a $100 deposit is also required, which a candidate can receive back if they get at least 50 oer cent of the votes that the last place successful candidate gets.
Councillor Dylan Bressey says, while he welcomes changes to the length of the campaign period, he remains skeptical with other changes recently put in place. The amended legislation changed the donation cap from $4,000 across the board in an election period, to now allow residents to spend upwards of $5,000 per candidate of their choosing, and for as many candidates as they desire. Bressey says municipal politics should remain a grassroots affair.
“The idea that one individual can give $5,000 per candidate and $30,000 to a third party advertiser is just ludicrous,” he says. “Especially if there is no pre-election disclosure as to who is giving that money, and who they are giving it to.”
Bressey says this isn’t something that a few municipal councillors had an issue with; it was councillors, as well as observers across the province overwhelmingly, who have objections.
“Our council unanimously passed a resolution to AUMA to ask these changes to be reversed, and that was passed with no opposition at AUMA itself,” he adds.
More information, including nomination packages for both the councillor and mayoral race, can be found on the City of Grande Prairie website. The 2021 municipal election is slated to take place on October 18th.