ABmunis provides alternatives to political parties 

Following our Spring Municipal Leaders’ Caucus, at which Premier Danielle Smith promised to consider alternatives to putting local political parties on municipal ballots, Alberta Municipalities (ABmunis) has sent a letter to Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver outlining several viable ways to increase transparency and trust.

Alberta Municipalities’ members share concerns about transparency and good governance that were expressed by Minister McIver and Premier Smith on March 14 and 15 in Edmonton before a crowd of 350 municipal leaders. We see several ways in which transparency and good governance could be improved without injecting party politics into local elections.


For starters, we recommend changing the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) to limit individual donation amounts to $2,500 per candidate. In recent reviews of Alberta’s election rules, Albertans clearly signaled they want to see less money involved in local elections, not more. The reduction in contribution limits, if implemented, would go a long way towards creating a more level playing field and ensuring large donors don’t drown out the voices of grassroots Albertans.

We also believe transparency could be improved by requiring candidates to file pre-election disclosure statements. Furthermore, we would like to see more robust disclosure requirements for third-party advertisers introduced. We believe voters should know who, be they individuals or like-minded groups, is donating money to candidates or indirectly supporting them through advertising.  In addition, the limits on campaign contributions to candidates should also be applied to third parties.

Tightening rules around contributions and disclosure would go a long way towards addressing the concerns Premier Smith expressed about groups unduly influencing elections or circumventing election rules.

Finally, we recognize the Minister of Municipal affairs has increasingly had to deal with the fallout from divided or dysfunctional councils. We believe adding political parties to the mix will make this problem worse, not better. We therefore recommend changes to the nomination form that require candidates to confirm they understand the role of councillors as set out in the Municipal Government Act (MGA). We also recognize that dysfunction is a problem that legislation alone cannot fix, so we are committed to working with the ministry and other associations to provide education and resources that support productive councils.

Talk to local MLAs & residents

Alberta Municipalities has been transparent and above board about its concerns with the government’s plans to introduce political parties to municipal elections. We now ask members to make our concerns known to local MLAs, tell residents about the potential impacts of the provincial government's plans and encourage them to voice their opposition.

Members can expect to receive an email from President Tyler Gandam in the coming days that outlines ABmunis’ position and provides key messages and talking points.