Canada News

Get the latest new in Candada


Premier to consider legislation changes following petition to recall Calgary mayor

Premier Danielle Smith said she would consider making changes to the province’s recall legislation during Saturday’s edition of her radio show on 630 CHED, Your Province. Your Premier.

The call-in style show heard from Calgarian business owner Landon Johnston, who initiated the recall petition against Mayor Jyoti Gondek this week. Johnston called the petitioning process “very, very stressful,” voicing concerns about a lack of direction from the Alberta government on how to navigate the legislation.

“I’ve been left out to dry for the past 55 days here,” Johnston told Smith during his call to the radio show. “There are so many holes, loopholes, gaps in this legislation.”

In response, Smith told Johnston that the legislation cannot be amended while there is an active petition.

“What I’ve observed from the process you’ve gone through is that it’s an extremely high bar,” Smith said. “We know that we need to make some modifications.”

Johnston’s recall petition for Mayor Gondek is Calgary’s first recall since the legislation took effect in 2022.

The provincial government amended the Municipal Government Act to allow for petitions to recall elected officials, including MLAs, school board trustees and municipal politicians.

In order to initiate a recall petition in Calgary, an eligible voter living in the jurisdiction represented by the mayor or councillor they hope to recall must submit a notice of recall petition to Elections Calgary and pay a $500 fee. Once the notice of recall application is accepted, the petitioner has 60 days to collect signatures from 40 per cent of the population within that electoral district, according to the legislation.

A man in a grey baseball cap speaks to reporters.
Calgary business owner Landon Johnston spoke to reporters at City Hall on March 22 following his 15-minute conversation with Mayor Jyoti Gondek. (Laurence Taschereau/CBC)

In this case, Johnston, a decade-long Calgary resident, filed the petition on Jan. 30 and it was officially accepted on Feb. 5. Now, he has until April 4 to collect 514,284 in-person signatures, representing 40 per cent of Calgary’s 2019 total population.

It’s more signatures than the number of people who voted in the city’s last municipal election. 

According to a post made to X, formerly known as Twitter, Johnston said he’s collected more than 50,000 signatures as of Saturday night. As of March 21, he told CBC News he had counted 42,000.

While on the air with the premier Saturday, Johnston also expressed frustrations surrounding the provincial government’s lack of response to his attempts to contact them about what he believes are problems with the legislation.

“I’ll give you my commitment, Landon,” said Premier Smith. “Happy to talk to you once that 60 days is up.”

CBC News contacted Johnston, Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver and the mayor’s office for comment, but have not heard back as of midday Sunday. 

Petitioner’s concerns about recall legislation

Johnston said his stress stems from issues with other groups and individuals using his name and petitioning for what he believes could be ulterior motives.

“I’ve been left to fend for myself against so many different groups using this as an opportunity for their own gain,” said Johnston.

CBC News previously reported that a third-party group known as Project YYC has been helping promote Johnston’s recall campaign because its organizers had ambitions of launching their own petition against Mayor Gondek later this year, as part of a broader mission to make Calgary’s city council more conservative.

The premier said she believes Johnston isn’t representing any partisan efforts, calling him a “good, civic-minded Calgarian who’s really concerned.”

A woman stands in front of a glass wall.
Mayor Jyoti Gondek is the first elected official in Calgary to face a recall petition. The deadline for the petition to be submitted to the city is April 4. (CBC News)

“There are a number of different groups who, it has been said in the media, have been involved in this. Many of them have said, ‘No, we’ve got nothing to do with it,’ when they’re asked about it,” said Smith.

“I just don’t want to interfere until the signature date is over. But once that’s over, I really would look forward to getting some input from somebody who’s gone through the process about what we need to do to change the legislation.”

View original article here Source