Alberta Politics

[updated] election of rookie mla’s kicks off municipal by-elections across alberta.

The results of the April 23 provincial general election in Alberta will cause a series of municipal by-elections as some successful candidates move from the previously held municipal roles into their new jobs as Members of the Legislative Assembly.

William Choy Mayor Stony Plain Alberta
New Stony Plain Mayor William Choy

In the Town of Stony Plain, newly elected Stony Plain Progressive Conservative MLA Ken Lemke has been replaced as Mayor by William Choy, who was chosen in a May 1 by-election. Mr. Lemke resigned as Mayor in February 2012.

In the Town of Canmore, three candidates have declared their candidacy in the June 19 by-election to replace former Mayor and newly elected Banff-Cochrane PC MLA Ron Casey. In the race are former Councillor Pam Hilstad, as well as recent Councillors Ed Russell and John Borrowman, who were required to resign their council positions to seek the Mayor’s job (creating two vacancies on Town Council which will be filled in a by-election also held on June 19).

Everett McDonald MLA Grande Prairie-Smoky
New MLA Everett McDonald

On June 25, the Municipal District of Wood Buffalo will hold a by-election to fill two vacancies created when PC candidate Don Scott was elected in Fort McMurray-Conklin and PC candidate Mike Allen was elected in Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo. So far, Christine Burton is the only candidatelisted in the media as have declared her intention to run.

A June 11 by-election in the County of Grande Prairie will be held to replace former District 1 Councillor and Reeve Everett McDonald, who was elected as the PC MLA for Grande Prairie-Smoky. Mr. McDonald was first elected to the County Council in 1992. Bezanson District Fire Captain Harold Bulford and realtor D.J. Golden have entered the contest.

A by-election in Strathcona County will be held on June 25 to fill the vacancy created by former Councillor Jacquie Fenske, who was elected to succeed retiring Premier Ed Stelmach as the PC MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville.

Jacquie Fenske MLA Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville
New MLA Jacquie Fenske

Westlock County Reeve Charles Navratil told the Westlock News on April 23 that the County will likely hold a by-election to replace newly elected Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock PC MLA Maureen Kubinec.

By-elections are also expected to be held in the Town of Rimbey to replace newly elected Sundre-Rocky Mountain House-Rimbey Wildrose MLA Joe Anglin and in Vulcan County to replace Little Bow Wildrose MLA Ian Donovan.

Other municipal politicians making the jump to provincial politics after April 23 are Village of Beiseker Mayor Bruce Rowe, who was elected as Wildrose MLA for Olds-Disbury-Three Hills, and Village of Stirling Deputy Mayor Gary Bikman, who was elected as the Wildrose MLA for Cardston-Taber-Warner.

According to Section 162 of the Municipal Government Act, a council must hold a by-election to fill a vacancy on council unless (a) the vacancy occurs in the 6 months before a general election, or (b) the council consists of 6 or more councillors and the vacancy occurs (i) in the 18 months before a general election and there is only one vacancy, or (ii) in the 12 months before a general election and the number of councillors remaining is at least one more than the majority of the number of councillors compromising the council. The next municipal general election will be held in October 2013.

UPDATE (May 21, 2012): The County of Westlock will hold a by-election to replace Ms. Kubinec on June 25. The County of Vulcan will not be holding a by-election to replace Mr. Donovan.

10 replies on “[updated] election of rookie mla’s kicks off municipal by-elections across alberta.”

Good stuff, Dave.

Municipal Affairs Minister Griffiths indicated his desire to move municipal elections to a four-year terms. This coincidently would align with the four-year provincial election cycle (barring a minority).

It would be beneficial to start the four-year municipal election cycle after the 2016 election. That would mean vacancies as you’ve described would not necessitate a by-election.

All municipal politicians who want to run for another government office should be required to resign before they run. The entitlement of our municipal politicians is sickening.

Really? grrr, really? What else would you require candidates to do? Self-flagellation? A vow of poverty? What do you do to earn your entitlements, grr? Never mind, I don’t need to know your occupation, it’s your self-righteous, knee- jerk authoritarian attitude that’s sickening.

Federal Members of Parliament are required to vacate their seats when seeking office on the municipal and provincial level.

I’m not sure if provincial politicians are, but them along Municipal politicians should be required to do the same if they decide to seek a different elected office.

I don’t care what stripe it is PC/Wildrose/Liberal/NDP/Independent campaigning and leveraging public office to one’s advantage on the tax payer dime sickens me.

Grrr, the only advantages that elected officials at ANY level of government are those of incumbency and proof that they can get elected. How is that “leveraging public office”?

If ANY employer is able to provide a leave of absence for someone contesting a political position, why shouldn’t elected representatives enjoy the same opportunity?

I’m not sure what you’re talking about when you refer to the “tax payer” dime, either. If they’re using government resources inappropriately, sure, I would condemm that. If they’re using franking privileges, or other government benefits, I’m not happy with that. But you need evidence that this is done before you go off half-cocked.

Finally, if the job(s) that are needed to be done are getting done, even if the political office seeker is busy with seeking office, what’s the big deal? How big a job do you think town councillor is, anyway? How many meetings a month do they attend? Most of their duties involve showing up at the opening of a new store, etc.

As with most leadership positions, the key is in effective delegation to competant subordinates. If that is happening, then I have NO problem with someone taking time off to run for office in another capacity.

A problem with incumbent municipal or schoolboard councillors running for MLA while keeping continuing to hold office is that while they’re distracted by their campaign and not likely properly representing their constituents. Though I can accept that if the average person can get a leave of absence from work and run municipal councillors and schoolboard trustees should be able to too (though it’s worth noting that not everyone can even get an unpaid leave from their job). I can accept councillors or school trustees running for office though.

What I can’t accept is when they continue to draw their salary as a councillor or trustee and run for another office. I know Cindy Olsen who ran for the NDP in Edmonton-Manning continued to receive pay for her trustee duties during the election period. I have a huge problem with this, especially when Edmonton-Catholic schools forces teachers and other staff to take a leave in order to run for office. Why shouldn’t the same have applied to Olson?

When a Chief Elected Official (Mayor) runs for office they should commit to serving the full term of that office or under section 163 of the MGA they will force their municipality to have a by-election if elected based on the timing now in effect. Some of these small communities, heck even a larger centre, will be forced to spend a lot of money to replace a mayor just because they have political ambitions. Why should tax payers pay to replace them ? Why not just serve the 4 year term one is elected to ? They want our trust in them via our votes, don’t we as voters deserve the same in return ?

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