Grande Prairie City Councillor Dylan Bressey says that while he has concerns over the soon to be implemented Recall Legislation, he believes it could help create a positive shift in political discussion.
The recall act would allow for voters to apply to the Chief Electoral Officer for a petition to recall an elected official. According to the province, the residents who created the petition would have two months to gather signatures from 40 per cent of eligible voters in that constituency to recall the MLA and force a byelection.
Bressey says giving voters the ability to try and force a change can be a very positive democratic step, and it can also help create more fulsome discussions about the job those elected are doing outside of campaign season.
“I think it gives people a chance between elections to get organized if they really feel passionate about things, but also it g gives them a chance to get out in the real world and talk to other voters to see if they feel the same way,” he says.
“I know, from knocking on doors and running in elections that the general consensus in social media often isn’t the same general consensus in the real world.”
Bressey says, however, he remains concerned over what he believes is a lack of parity between levels of government when it comes to being recalled. While provincial recalling will force a byelection, municipally elected officials and school board officials will simply be removed. Bressey says if it’s meant to create transparency and accountability, the approach, and end game should be the same.
“For me, I think the provincial government should stand itself to the same standards that it’s holding local officials to account. I welcome recall legislation overall, but I think it’s ridiculous that it’s easier to recall a local official than it is to recall an MLA.”
Bill 52 goes into effect on April 7th, 2022.