Albertans will soon have a chance to hold their elected officials accountable between elections, if new recall legislation is passed.
The United Conservative government has introduced Bill 52, the Recall Act, which would allow Albertans to initiate a process that could lead to removing and replacing elected officials including MLAs, municipal officials and school trustees during their term.
Premier Jason Kenney says elected officials have a responsibility to Albertans, and Albertans should be able to hold those officials accountable throughout their term, not just at the ballot box. “Albertans have told government for years that they want a greater say in the democratic process, and this legislation will help give them that voice.”
Some critics to this proposed legislation argue this does nothing but protect the government and aims to more-so target elected municipal and school board officials across Alberta.
In a news release issued Monday afternoon, the government states recall of an elected official becomes an option 18 months after the respective provincial, municipal or school board election. An eligible Albertan could begin the process to have their MLA recalled by applying to the chief electoral officer. In the case of municipal officials, an Albertan would need to notify the chief administrative officer of the municipality.
The Albertan would then have 60 days to gather signatures from 40% of eligible voters in their constituency for MLAs. For elected municipal officials, the Albertan would need signatures from electors that represent 40% of the population in the municipality or ward.
If the recall petition is successful, the voters in that MLA’s constituency would then vote to determine if they should be recalled. If the vote is successful, the MLA would be removed, and then a by-election would be held to choose a new representative.
(With files from Government of Alberta news release).
Written by Pat Siedlecki, MyLethbridgeNow.com