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Our View: Don’t let the party (politics) start without you

They say you can’t fight city hall, but what about fighting for it?

They say you can’t fight city hall. But can city halls fight the Alberta legislature?

The last several weeks have seen the provincial government introduce three separate bills taking specific aim at the structure and authority of local government. Starting with Bill 18, which restricts municipalities from entering into agreements with federal entities without prior approval from the province, the province cruised straight on into Bill 20, which brings political parties into municipal politics and makes it easier for the province both to overhaul municipal bylaws, and to dismiss elected councillors if cabinet deems necessary.

It also happens to make it harder for people without photo identification to vote and bans electronic vote-counting machines in municipal elections, both of which intimate that voter fraud is rife.

Now, with Bill 21, the province plans to give itself the power to assume control of an emergency situation if a local government declares a state of emergency, a power requested by … nobody, apparently.

Of course, the province has every right to do what it’s doing  — under our constitution, municipalities have no rights except those the province gives them. If the province wanted to shut down every municipal hall in Alberta and run things directly, it could do it. It would be an administrative nightmare, and completely anti-democratic, but perfectly legal.

But legal doesn’t equal well thought out. The changes proposed are so far out there, they could have been written in the Take Back Alberta offices.

And if Bill 20 goes through as currently drafted, TBA will have a greater ability to do so  — first in our two largest cities, and thereafter likely throughout the province.

If you think political parties don’t belong in city hall, make sure you make your voice heard at whatever public consultation opportunities are offered.

Otherwise, the party may just start without you.

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