Alberta Premier Jason Kenney reacts to a question as he speaks to reporters on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 2, 2019. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and his new government head to the house this week to launch an ambitious legislative agenda of loud changes set to the sounds of silence. Kenney has promised what he calls a "spring of renewal" in his United Conservatives' first legislature session since winning the April 16 election over former premier Rachel Notley's NDP. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Alberta proposes set election day for last Monday in May every four years

Alberta premiers always have the option to call an election for extenuating circumstances

EDMONTON — Alberta is planning a set day for future provincial elections.

A bill introduced by Justice Minister Kaycee Madu proposes that the last Monday in May, every four years, be the day Albertans go to the polls.

Legislation passed a decade ago set the time frame for elections within a three-month period in the spring every four years.

“(This) would level the playing field for all political parties,” Madu said Thursday after introducing the bill in the house.

“In addition to providing certainty, a set election day would remove the advantage a governing party may have (to set an advantageous voting date), and increase Albertans’ trust in their democratic process.”

If the bill passes, the next vote would be held on May 29, 2023 — but that could end up not being the next polling day.

Alberta premiers always have the option to call an election for extenuating circumstances, including if they are seeking a mandate on consequential changes or if the governing party loses a confidence vote in the house.

Former Progressive Conservative premier Jim Prentice called an early election in 2015, seeking a renewed mandate on a blueprint for spending and budgeting, and was defeated by Rachel Notley’s NDP.

The changes were part of a broader bill on election rules and financing, including a larger boost to party election spending limits.

The bill proposes to increase the number of advance voting stations and tighten security by requiring voters to produce identification.

The current party election spending cap of $2 million would be changed to $1.16 per registered voter to reflect increased costs.

Based on current registered voter totals, that would increase the cap to $3.3 million.

The bill would also allow only those who live in Alberta to contribute to election advertising during the election period.

It would set an annual $30,000 contribution donation limit to third-party advertisers and prohibit political parties, candidates and constituency associations from contributing to third parties.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2021.