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RFD- 3360 Business Items   Item #   10. e.    
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 07/16/2018  
Title:    Local Authorities Election Act Feedback - Pungur-Buick
Department: Corporate Services  
Strategic Vision Element: n/a Related Goal: n/a

Request for Decision Summary
The Province of Alberta is seeking feedback on proposed policy changes to the Local Authorities Election Act, and has circulated a discussion guide and survey for municipal input. This report is intended to seek Council's input into the proposed response, and authorization to submit a response to the Government of Alberta and Alberta Urban Municipalities Association. 

Proposed Motion
That Administration be directed to prepare a response to the Local Authorities Election Act Discussion Guide Survey that reflects the discussion from this meeting, and

that the response be provided to Municipal Affairs and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.

The Local Authorities Election Act establishes the framework for the conduct of municipal, school board and Metis settlement elections in the province. The Act was amended in 2009 to include new provisions on municipal election finance and contribution disclosure, and again in 2012 to increase the term of council from three to four years, add voter identification requirements, and to require candidates to register with the municipality before accepting campaign contributions. 

Since the 2013 elections, citizens, candidates, municipalities and municipal associations have continued to ask for a number of changes to improve fairness in campaign practices and to clarify and improve the consistency of the legislation. In 2016, Municipal Affairs considered amendments to the legislation that would increase the transparency of campaign finances, make candidacy more accessible to Albertans who have limited resources, and to improve voter access to municipal elections. Due to the proximity of the 2017 election, amendments were not pursued at that time. 

Municipal Affairs has indicated their intent to conduct a limited-scope review prior to the 2021 municipal elections and is seeking input through the Local Authorities Election Act Discussion Guide and survey.  This discussion guide was circulated to Council for comment, and to the City Clerk's Office for review from an election implementation perspective. The results identified a clear direction on several of the topics. 

Areas that will require further direction from Council include;
  • fundraising contributions,
  • application of a contribution limit 'per donor, per year',
  • campaign spending limits,
  • third party advertising,
  • residency requirements,
  • identification and vouching rules, and
  • regulations around the use of cell phones within a voting station.

The proposed consolidated responses and corresponding considerations are included within Attachment B.  

Municipal Affairs is seeking input by July 31, 2018. 

 The proposed amendments to the Local Authorities Election Act were reviewed in detail by the City Clerk's Office, which is the department responsible for the implementation of municipal elections within the City of Spruce Grove.  Feedback was received from four members of Council. 
Upon Council's endorsement, the feedback will be submitted to Municipal Affairs through the electronic survey and a hard copy will be submitted to the Minister of Municipal Affairs through the Office of the Mayor. A copy of the feedback will also be submitted to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association for consideration in the drafting of its response. 
Input provided through the Local Authorities Election Act Discussion Guide and Survey will be taken into consideration when developing policy recommendations to government on the Local Authorities Election Act. 
Attachment A - LAEA Discussion Guide
Attachment B - LAEA Discussion Guide - Responses for Consideration

City Council and Committee of the Whole agendas and minutes are posted on the City of Spruce Grove website for information purposes only. These agendas may be changed at the discretion of Council by the addition or deletion of items. Anyone reviewing the draft agenda should do so on the understanding that it is subject to change by Council.

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Audio from the most recent City Council and Committee of the Whole meetings are available via podcast on the City of Spruce Grove website.

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