The UCP government has introduced legislation that would allow voters to “fire” their elected representatives, says Premier Jason Kenney.
Bill 52, the Recall Act, was tabled in the legislature Monday afternoon.
“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,” Kenney said.
Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Kaycee Madu said Bill 52 proposes the window to begin the recall process no sooner than 18 months after an election and no later than six months before an election.
“If an Albertan feels that the MLA in their constituency is not upholding their responsibilities, they can apply to the chief electoral officer for a petition to recall them,” Madu said.
The bill, based on a framework of similar legislation in British Columbia, is yet to go through legislative debate.
Kenney said he anticipates it will be adopted by the legislature this spring, then it would take “a period of time” to develop regulations to support the law and for Alberta Elections to prepare so it can administer any prospective recall petitions.
“I would suspect it would be proclaimed into law and be operational later this year. When exactly, we don’t know. It depends in part on how much debate time this takes on the legislature. But certainly later this year and well before six months prior to the next election,” he said.
This legislation will not only cover members of the Alberta legislature, but also elected members of municipal councils, said Kenney.
“Local property owners and voters deserve the same kind of accountability from their local councillors, mayors and reeves,” he said, adding it will also apply to elected members of school boards across Alberta.
The Albertan who applies for the recall process would have 60 days to get signatures from 40 per cent of voters in that constituency. They would then submit the petition to the chief electoral officer, who would ensure signatures are valid and the petition has reached the necessary threshold.
For municipal officials, they would notify the chief administrative officer of the municipality.
In the case of school board officials, the Albertan would need to apply to the secretary of the relevant school board.
“If the recall petition is successful, a vote would be held in that constituency to determine if the elected official should be recalled. If that vote is successful, the elected official would be removed and a byelection would be held,” said Madu.
The process for school board trustees would be slightly different, said Madu. The Albertan who applied for the recall process would have 120 days to get signatures from 40 per cent of voters in that school board.
More of the UCP’s democratic reform agenda will be revealed in the “days to come,” Kenney added.