+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 4-24S

Maintaining Non-Partisan Municipal Elections

Date:
April 1, 2024
Expiry Date:
February 28, 2027
Active Status:
Active
Sponsors:
Northern Sunrise County
District:
4 - Northern
Year:
2024
Convention:
Spring
Category:
Municipal Governance and Finances
Status:
Sent to Government
Vote Results:
Carried
Preamble:

WHEREAS municipal elections in Alberta have been predominantly free from political party influence; and

WHEREAS this non-partisan structure has afforded local elected officials the autonomy to debate and vote on municipal issues based on the best interests of their community; and

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta is considering formalizing political parties at the municipal level; and

WHEREAS formalizing political parties at the municipal level would restrict individual elected officials from independently pursuing the best interests of the municipality but instead bind them by the ideology of the political party they represent; and

WHEREAS the current Local Authorities Elections Act does not explicitly restrict political party influence in local elections.

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) advocate to the Government of Alberta to refrain from formalizing partisan politics in local government elections;

FURTHER, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the RMA advocate for the Government of Alberta to amend the Local Authorities Elections Act (LAEA) to prohibit partisanship from infiltrating local elections or politics in any way including political party endorsements of local candidates, donations directly or indirectly from political parties to local candidates, or by way of any other influence.

Member Background:

Local government elected officials are closer to the people they represent than those of any other form of government. These representatives also live in their community, which is not always the case for those elected provincially or federally. Local representatives interact with their citizens often, are accountable to their citizens and are easily accessible.

On any community issue they face, these local elected officials bring their experience and what they believe is best for the overall community and express this through their debate and vote. This is critical in local government and plays a big part in why local government is the most accountable and efficient form of government.

Partisanship in local politics would be a disappointment. No longer could our local elected officials vote on what they believe is best for the community, but instead, they would be beholden to vote based on the ideology of the political party they represent. In the few cases where elected officials in non-local governments dare vote on what they feel is in the best interests of their constituents rather than by their parties’ ideologies, they have been alienated by the party. This has the effect of leaving their constituents frustrated with the feeling their voice has been further eroded.

For our municipalities to remain efficient, effective and accountable, it is critical that we leave no room for partisan politics.

RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

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