Proposed MGA amendments Hurt Local Autonomy

Barry Morishita

March 01, 2022

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The Alberta government announced the intention of  legislation that “will restrict the ability of municipalities to pass bylaws that contradict public health policies and rules enacted by the province”. This decision imposed without any consultation is another example of this government’s desire to remove more local levels of autonomy.

As both a former Mayor and former Alberta Municipalities President, I experienced repeated instances during the pandemic when this provincial government relied on municipalities to make decisions regarding the protection of public health when the province would not step up to enact necessary restrictions. They offloaded responsibilities to municipalities to protect Albertans, and suddenly, they want to take this away because it is now politically expedient for them.

This proposed legislation creates inconsistencies in jurisdictional autonomy and responsibility, as well as inconsistencies in actual responses seen in the past two years. The UCP is taking away a vital tool that municipalities have to serve the needs of their communities, acting locally. 

The Alberta Party values a more decentralized government that empowers local communities to make the best decisions for themselves. There is a role for the provincial government in ensuring broad public safety, but this should not come at the expense and confusion of municipal responsibilities. The Alberta Party would implement legislation to ensure that the province cannot usurp municipal authority that deserved to be protected and respected. 

- Barry Morishita, Alberta Party Leader

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