WHEREAS the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) has provided a clear and constant voice for rural Alberta for over 100 years; and
WHEREAS RMA represents Alberta’s sixty-nine rural municipalities that collectively provide municipal governance to over 85% of Alberta’s landmass; and
WHEREAS RMA provides a variety of member services for rural municipalities, including advocacy, elected officials education, insurance management, networking, research, risk management, and business services; and
WHEREAS the RMA Board of Directors is comprised of democratically elected rural representatives who have been given a clear mandate to provide a strong voice to advance the ideals, values and concerns of rural municipalities; and
WHEREAS the organization formerly known as the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association has recently rebranded as Alberta Municipalities (AM); and
WHEREAS the “Alberta Municipalities” brand incorrectly suggests that AM represents all municipalities in Alberta; and
WHEREAS RMA and AM each serve a distinct member base with specific interests and priorities; and
WHEREAS RMA and AM have a history of collaboration on issues of mutual importance; and
WHEREAS a merger between RMA and AM would result in lost representation, lost autonomy, lost influence with senior levels of government and would harm the interests of all municipalities in Alberta;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta refuse any attempt to merge with any urban association.
The Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) and Alberta Municipalities (AM) (formerly known as the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association [AUMA]) have been operating as separate municipal organizations for decades, representing distinct municipal membership bases with specific advocacy perspectives and priorities.
As AM has over three times the number of municipal members as RMA, if the two associations were to merge it is likely that the unique interests and issues of rural municipalities will be overlooked. While the majority of rural infrastructure is designed around transportation corridors and emergency and enforcement services, urban municipalities require millions of dollars to subsidize recreational services. There has always been a disconnect between the two associations regarding municipal servicing priorities.
The recent rebranding of the AUMA to become AM is highly concerning for RMA members, as it incorrectly suggests that AM represents all municipalities in Alberta. As AM has previously attempted to merge with RMA, it is a distinct possibility this rebranding will be followed by an attempt to engage in merger discussions with RMA in the near future. This resolution will ensure that the RMA Board of Directors has proactive member support to refuse to engage in such discussions and maintain the independent, grass roots, and rural focus of RMA.
RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.
RMA has a long history of supporting its members in advocacy and business services. RMA’s members are unique among municipalities across Canada due to their large size and extensive infrastructure networks, and therefore RMA prides itself on applying a rural municipal lens to policy and advocacy issues, which would likely be diluted or overlooked if a single municipal association were to represent all municipalities in Alberta.
While RMA has, and will continue to, collaborate with Alberta Municipalities on issues of mutual importance, RMA has never considered merging the two associations, and has no plans to in the future. This resolution is assigned a status of Accepted.