Saturday , 31 July 2021

Albertans would need 40% of constituent’s signatures to recall elected officials

The United Conservative Party’s promise about letting voters fire their elected officials was tabled at the Legislature on Monday.

Bill 52, the Recall Act, would allow Albertans to initiate a process that could lead to removing and replacing elected officials including members of the legislative assembly (MLAs), municipal officials and school trustees during their term.

“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,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a statement.

The bill says that recalling an elected official would become an option 18 months after the provincial, municipal or school board election.

The process to having an MLA recalled would begin by applying to the chief electoral officer. In the case of municipal officials, the Albertans would need to notify the chief administrative officer of the municipality. For school board officials, they would apply to the secretary of the relevant school board.

Then, the citizen would have 60 days to gather signatures from 40 per cent of eligible voters in their constituency for MLAs.

For elected municipal officials, the Albertan would need signatures from electors that represent 40 per cent of the population in the municipality or ward. For school board trustees, the Albertan would have 120 days to gather signatures from 40 per cent of eligible voters in that school district 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 byelection would be held to choose a new representative.

If the recall petition for an elected municipal official is successful, the elected official is removed once the petition is presented at the next council meeting. If the recall petition for a school board trustee is successful, they would be removed from the board. The board would then decide if a byelection is necessary.

The government said Elections Alberta would need to verify the signatures to determine if a recall petition for an MLA is successful.

For a petition to recall a municipal official or school board trustee, there is a $500 application fee, the government said in a press release.

The bill can be found here.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.