Maintaining Non-Partisan Municipal Elections
IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT Alberta Municipalities advocate to the Provincial Government to refrain from introducing partisan politics in local government elections;
AND IT IS FURTHERED RESOLVED THAT Alberta Municipalities advocate for the Government of Alberta to amend the LAEA to prohibit partisanship infiltrating local elections or politics in any way including political party endorsements of local candidates, donations directly or indirectly to local candidates, or by way of any other influence.
WHEREAS municipal elections in Alberta have been predominantly free from political party influence, affording local elected officials the autonomy to debate and vote on community issues based on the best interests of their community;
WHEREAS at the Provincial level there has been comment on opening the door to having political parties at the local level;
WHEREAS partisan politics 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 (LAEA) does not explicitly restrict political party influence in local elections.
Local government elected officials are closer to the people they represent than 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. Thank you for your consideration and support of this resolution.