Minister of Municipal Affairs, Ric McIver has put out a statement with regards to Bill 20 after a flurry of criticism has been levelled at the government from both the official opposition and groups like the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) and Alberta Municipalities. 

McIver echoed previous sentiments that The Municipal Affairs Statutes Amendment Act is meant to, 'make local elections processes more transparent and local elected officials more accountable to the people they represent.' 

"When a councillor has betrayed the public trust and it’s in the public interest to remove them, swift action should be taken to remove them. As municipal councillors and mayors are locally elected by their constituents, Alberta’s government recognizes this authority should only be used as a last resort, which was always the intent of this legislation," the statement read.

However, McIver said that the government will be working with municipalities, 'to propose amendments to the legislation and clarify that this would only be used in very limited circumstances.'

"Additionally, this legislation sets out a process through the cabinet to repeal or amend municipal bylaws. This is quite serious, and we would not do this lightly. We will also be working with municipalities to propose amendments for the legislation and clarify that this would only be used in very limited circumstances related to areas that are primarily overseen by the province, like health care, education, the provincial economy or public safety."

The bill, which was tabled in the legislature last week, would, among other things enable political parties at the local level, as well as allow the province to remove councillors from office and allow the cabinet the authority to require a municipality to amend or repeal a bylaw. 

Local reaction to the bill has been cautious, with Mayor Brown underlining that considering the bill is not yet law, it is difficult to comment on hypotheticals. He also underlined that aspects of the bill may be beneficial to Airdrie. However, Mayor Brown said that the idea of having political party affiliation in municipal elections is somewhat confounding. He previously said that he wanted to know what problem the province was trying to solve by introducing the mechanism of political parties into municipal elections. 

However, more pointed criticism has been voiced by Alberta Municipalities. The organization's President, Tyler Gandam said that the bill was, 'an attempt by the government to centralize strengthen and tighten [the] government's hold on power.’

"At its heart, Bill 20 does not improve the lives of Albertans it does not build up our province," Gandam said. "Bill 20 threatens our society because it threatens to split us apart."

The RMA's President, President Paul McLauchlin, stated in a written release that the bill, 'assumes that the provincial government knows better than municipal councillors about what is best in their communities..."

"This is not only an affront to municipalities, but also an affront to democracy in Alberta. Imagine if the federal government decided to pick and choose the provincial policies and leaders that they agreed with, and simply removed those that they didn’t like. Something tells me the provincial response would be one of anger, so it is no surprise that ours is the same when such over-the-top control is directed to local councillors."

The NDP has been lambasting the government since the announcement of the bill. Earlier this week, Irfan Sabir, Alberta NDP Critic for Justice and Public Safety stated that the Premier was, 'setting up a totalitarian government for herself.'

"... This Bill will allow for local election donations to be gathered into campaign war chests outside of an election year and for party banners to be formed at the local municipal level in Edmonton and Calgary."

On Thursday, the NDP released a statement with regard to the province's most recent announcement. Kyle Kasawski, Alberta NDP Critic for Municipalities said that the announcement came after the UCP, '[were] feeling the heat from Albertans who’ve had enough of their ideological agenda.'

"The UCP’s gatekeeper-in-chief still wants the ability to fire municipal officials who have been elected by Albertans and to repeal municipal bylaws if they don’t meet with her approval. Bill 20 is a threat to our democracy. The UCP needs to acknowledge that it is too flawed to amend and withdraw it entirely."

However, in his statement on Thursday McIver said that the entire point of the bill was to, 'make local elections processes more transparent and local elected officials more accountable to the people they represent.'

"The role of an elected official is one with tremendous responsibility and expectations. The Municipal Affairs Statutes Amendment Act will strengthen the accountability of locally elected officials and councils while balancing the need to support local autonomy in areas of municipal oversight."

A second reading of the Bill is slated for early next week in Alberta's Legislature. 

Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to You can also message and follow us on Twitter: @AIR1061FM

DiscoverAirdrie encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoverAirdrie app. For breaking news, weather and contest alerts click here