WHEREAS the Province of Alberta has established the Municipal Government Act to govern the actions of municipalities in Alberta; and
WHEREAS sections 220 to 226 of the Municipal Government Act define the rules for submitting and receiving petitions in Alberta municipalities; and
WHEREAS section 225 of the Municipal Government Act does not allow petitioners to request to the Chief Administrative Officer to exclude their name when counting petitioners; and
WHEREAS the exclusion provisions under section 225 are very narrow and do not contemplate a number of circumstances which potentially can arise and should be considered in counting petitioners;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to amend section 225 of the Municipal Government Act to include provisions which require the Chief Administrative Officer, when counting the number of petitioners on a petition to exclude the name of a person who provides a statutory declaration to the Chief Administrative Officer, prior to the declaration of the CAO on sufficiency of the petition, that their signature was:
1. Not witnessed in accordance with section 224 of the Municipal Government Act;
2. Provided after receiving inaccurate information regarding the petition;
3. Provided under duress;
4. Provided while the petitioner was in an intoxicated state; or
The CAO of Lac La Biche County received a petition in accordance with section 231 of the MGA. While determining sufficiency of the petition, County Administration received several requests from petitioners to have their name excluded from the petition. Although unsubstantiated, these claims demonstrate a weakness in the legislation and include the following:
1. The witness listed on the petition was not physically present when the petitioner signed;
2. The intent of the petition was not communicated to the petitioner;
3. The petitioners signed what they thought was a sign-in sheet at a social gathering;
4. Petitioners were placed under duress while signing; and
5. The petition was signed when the petitioner was in an intoxicated state.
Section 225 of the MGA details the process for counting and excluding petitioners. Currently, this section does not allow a petitioner to submit a statutory declaration to the CAO requesting that their signature to be excluded for any reason. Adopting this resolution will ensure that signatures listed on a petition adequately represent the intent of the petitioners.
The AAMDC has no current resolutions directly related to this issue.
Municipal Affairs will be undertaking a staged comprehensive review of the Municipal Government Act and will take this recommendation into consideration when conducting the review.
While the Government of Alberta has responded that they will take the issue into consideration and that a review of the MGA will take place, the department continues to give no input into the substance of the resolution. The AAMDC will continue to advocate this position as such a review moves forward.