WHEREAS the Canadian public has become increasingly disenchanted with the political process, as evidenced by a cynical opinion of politicians in general, and by low voter turnout at elections for all levels of government;AND WHEREAS this cynicism is due in large measure to excessive partisanship and general belittling of opposing views, particularly at the federal and provincial levels;AND WHEREAS a smaller portion of the cynicism may be attributed to opportunistic early election calls, which unnecessarily increase the cost of the political process to all citizens, with the benefit generally accruing to the governing party;AND WHEREAS addressing the larger cause of cynicism requires extensive behavior modification on the part of the individuals involved, while addressing the smaller cause requires only legislative action;AND WHEREAS municipal politicians have proven that it is possible to function effectively under the certain knowledge of the next election date;AND WHEREAS it is of vital importance that steps be taken to correct the aforementioned problems;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to enact legislation in 2002 establishing a date for the next provincial election, and requiring that subsequent elections be held at fixed four-year intervals from that date;AND FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC solicit the support of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, in urging the federal government to enact legislation in 2003 establishing a date for the next federal election, and requiring that subsequent elections be held at fixed four-year intervals from that date.
Terms of office for municipal elected officials are set out in Section 9 of the Local Authorities Election Act, which states:The members of an elected authority elected at a general election hold office for a term of three years, and a general election shall be held every third year commencing with the year 1983.The term of office for provincial MLAs is significantly different and much more flexible, as spelled out in section 3(1) of the Legislative Assembly Act, which states:No legislative assembly shall continue for longer than five years from the date fixed for the return of the writs at a general election of its members.Since Albertas entry into Confederation in 1905, there have been 24 general elections in Alberta, with an average of four years between each election.Meanwhile, there have been 36 federal general elections in Canadian history, with an average of three years, nine months between each election.Earlier this year, the Government of British Columbia introduced legislation which would establish a fixed date for provincial general elections in that province. The proposed amendments to the B.C. Constitution Act will require provincial general elections to be held on a fixed date every fourth year, commencing on May 17, 2005. Elections would also be required immediately if the provincial government loses a vote of confidence in the provincial legislature.In announcing the proposed amendments, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell stated that this is a crucial step in restoring public trust and confidence, by making government more open and accountable. Premier Campbell went on to say that the timing of elections should not be manipulated for political or partisan purposes.
Resolution 34-97F, endorsed by delegates to the 1997 Fall Convention, calls on the Government of Alberta to foster an open discussion upon the merits and demerits of a fixed date electoral system for the Alberta legislature, with a view to implementing such a system prior to the next election should public consensus favour it.