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Bill 52, the Recall Act, would allow Albertans to initiate a process that could lead to removing and replacing elected officials including members of the legislative assembly (MLAs), municipal officials and school trustees during their term.
“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.”
“Albertans deserve elected officials who uphold their promises and responsibilities. Through this legislation, Albertans will be able to make sure their representatives can be held even more accountable to those who voted for them.”
“We made a campaign promise to bring in recall legislation. This legislation applies to all elected officials and will make them more accountable to Albertans.”
Under the proposed Recall Act, recall of an elected official becomes an option 18 months after the respective provincial, municipal or school board election. An eligible Albertan could begin the process to have their MLA recalled by applying to the chief electoral officer. In the case of municipal officials, the Albertans would need to notify the chief administrative officer of the municipality. For school board officials, they would apply to the secretary of the relevant school board.
The Albertan would then have 60 days to gather signatures from 40 per cent of eligible voters in their constituency for MLAs. For elected municipal officials, the Albertan would need signatures from electors that represent 40 per cent of the population in the municipality or ward. For school board trustees, the Albertan would have 120 days to gather signatures from 40 per cent of eligible voters in that school district or ward.
If the recall petition is successful, the voters in that MLA’s constituency would then vote to determine if they should be recalled. If the vote is successful, the MLA would be removed, and then a byelection would be held to choose a new representative.
If the recall petition for an elected municipal official is successful, the elected official is removed once the petition is presented at the next council meeting. If the recall petition for a school board trustee is successful, they would be removed from the board. The board would then decide if a byelection is necessary.
Introduction of the Recall Act fulfils a government platform commitment to “introduce a Recall Act based on the provisions contained in the B.C. Recall and Initiative Act, which allow voters to remove their MLA and force a byelection if 40 per cent of eligible voters in a constituency sign a recall petition no sooner than 18 months after an election.” The Recall Act is also based on a private member’s bill introduced by Devon-Drayton Valley MLA Mark Smith, and adopts recommendations made by the Select Special Democratic Accountability Committee following public consultations on recall and initiative held in 2020.
- Elections Alberta would need to verify the signatures to determine if a recall petition for an MLA is successful.
- There will be limits on how much Albertans and third parties, like political action committees, can spend on promoting or arguing against a recall petition and recall vote. These limits will be set in regulation.
- For a petition to recall a municipal official or school board trustee, there is a $500 application fee.