Municipal Political Parties – LAEA Review

LAEA Review
Premier Danielle Smith’s mandate letter to Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver instructed him to collaborate with Minister of Justice Mickey Amery to review the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) and make recommendations for any necessary amendments to “strengthen public trust in and the integrity of our municipal election laws.”

During the Minister Dialogue session at Alberta Municipalities 2023 Convention, Minister McIver confirmed that the provincial government will take this opportunity to consider introducing political parties to municipal elections. Minister McIver told members that all stakeholders will be consulted.

We recognize that there is currently nothing preventing candidates from running as slates or parties, other than a historic lack of success. However, changes to legislation could make it easier for parties or slates to raise funds, and we know from previous reviews of the election rules that Albertans want to see less money involved in local elections, not more.

Janet Brown Survey Report
Janet Brown Opinion Research conducted a public survey on behalf of Alberta Municipalities in early-September. The results of that survey are available on our website. The highlights of the report are:

  • 68% of respondents would prefer to see municipal candidates run as individuals. Only 24% would prefer to see municipal candidates run as members of a political party.
  • 81% agree that municipal officials who are part of a political party would vote along party lines and not necessarily in the best interest of the community.
  • 69% think that political parties would make municipal governments more divisive and less effective.

During Convention, ABmunis members debated and voted on resolution B11: Maintaining Non-Partisan Municipal Elections. 94.6% of voting members were in favour of ABmunis asking the provincial government to refrain from introducing partisan politics in local government elections. And 80.9% of voting members were in favour of the provincial government “amending 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”.

Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver has a long track record of listening to municipalities and carefully considering what local governments say they need. ABmunis looks forward to discussing this topic further with him and seeking solutions in the best interest of Albertans.