Elections Alberta to verify signatures to see whether petition for initiative or recall succeeds
Alberta has announced Bill 51, the Citizen Initiative Act, which aims to strengthen Albertans’ voices relating to government priorities and initiatives, and Bill 52, the Recall Act, which will ensure that Albertans can hold elected officials accountable throughout their terms.
Under the proposed Bill 51, any Albertan eligible to vote may advance concerns and proposals to the government for discussion or referendum by applying to Alberta’s chief electoral officer to commence a petition for an initiative and by gathering within 90 days the signatures of, for legislative and policy initiatives, ten per cent of voters. The initiative will move forward to a committee of Alberta’s legislative assembly for consideration, if successful.
For constitutional initiatives, they need the signatures of 20 per cent of voters provincewide and this level of support in each of two-thirds of Alberta’s constituencies. The initiative will move forward via a process under the Referendum Act, if successful.
“The introduction of Bill 51 is another promise kept, and is a historic democratic reform for our province,” said Jason Kenney, Alberta’s premier, in a news release dated Mar. 16.
“Through this legislation, Albertans have the opportunity to directly set the priorities for government between elections,” said Kaycee Madu, Alberta’s justice minister and solicitor general, in the news release.
Under the proposed Bill 52, Albertans will have a way to remove and replace during their terms elected officials, such as members of the legislative assembly, municipal officials and school trustees.
Albertans should collect signatures, in the case of members of the legislative assembly, from 40 per cent of eligible voters in their constituency within 60 days; in the case of elected municipal officials, from electors representing 40 per cent of the population in the municipality or ward; and for school board trustees, 40 per cent of eligible voters in that school district or ward within 120 days.
“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,” said Kenney in the news release dated Mar. 15.
“Albertans deserve elected officials who uphold their promises and responsibilities,” said Madu in the news release.
If these bills are passed, Elections Alberta will need to verify the signatures to see whether the a petition for an initiative or for the recall of a member of the legislative assembly is successful. Regulations will restrict how much Albertans and third parties, such as political action committees, can spend to promote or to fight the initiative or the recall petition and recall vote.