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Vegreville Council Voices Concerns About Bill 20, Receives Feedback From Minister Of Municipal Affairs

The recently proposed Municipal Affairs Statues Amendment Act had Town of Vegreville council very concerned and as a result it had recommended that the Government of Alberta recind Bill 20.

The Town had sent a letter in May to Alberta’s Minister of Municipal Affairs, Ric McIver, asking for him to reverse the proposed legislative amendments in Bill 20.

The letter states that local decision making is the hallmark of municipal government authority and Bill 20 erodes democracy in its purest form by allowing oversight and interference by the Province into matters of local decision-making.

Mayor Tim MacPhee says Vegreville council was wondering why some of the changes were being made. He says they thought the provincial government was over reaching, especially when it came to bylaws and changes they could make to local bylaws. He says “Some of the amendments that spell out that if it is against the constitution or if it goes against the province’s policies so, you know, that makes sense. The other part of Bill 20 we didn’t like was the removal of council or Mayor on a cabinet decision. So they made some amendments to that and they were more open to discuss about what would cause that, what would trigger it and I don’t think that part is too far different than what it is today. If there’s problems, they already had that ability but where it was open, if it was just a provincial cabinet had the ability to remove councillors but they defined it a lot more than what it was first before it was amended.”
According to Mayor MacPhee, it is great to see the Government of Alberta paying attention to information received about Bill 20 from not only Vegreville council, but other municipal councils across the province. He says “I mean Minister McIver himself is a previous municipal elected official in the City of Calgary and he understands what our concerns are. I’m glad that he did listen and the cabinet seen where were coming from and more than anything it was defining the definitions of how it would work is what the amendments are.”
Mayor MacPhee says the feedback they received from Minister McIver about Bill 20 doesn’t address all the concerns the Town of Vegreville had, but it is a lot better with the new amendments than it was before.

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