Ric McIver's response to Question 1
Question 1(a): Do you support City Charters for Calgary and Edmonton?
I know this is a big topic for the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton. I’m willing to work with both cities to see what we can do, but a Charter is static. I believe whatever we do has to result in a living document. If we have a static document – even if it is perfect in 2014 – it isn’t likely to be perfect in 2044. I think it is important that we have a living document so we can change as the times change, whether this be a Big Cities piece of legislation or section in the Municipal Government Act (MGA) that refers to Big Cities. And in fairness, maybe we need a section in the MGA for rural municipalities. While all municipalities do basically the same things, there are really important nuances that are different for a county or a rural municipality than they are for major cities and the province.
I agree that we need to have a discussion between cities and the province about developing a new working relationship to clarify roles and responsibilities, and better allocate resources to responsibilities. I also agree cities need more funding than they currently receive. We must increase funding as we can afford to do so in consultation with cities.
As premier, all municipalities will have a sympathetic ear. My nine years on Calgary City Council, eight years of service on the board of the Alberta Urban Municipalities, the Police Commission and the Calgary Housing Company have given me a perspective and an appreciation of the different concerns of different municipalities.
Question 1(b): How do you see this new legislative framework benefiting citizens?
A new framework should make it easier for cities to address issues with less red tape and restrictions from the provincial government. For example, there can be environmental challenges the city is well able to address. In these cases, authority should be given to address the situation without unnecessary delays. I am sure we can identify other areas as well where we can free cities from long and onerous approvals to do what cities are well able to achieve.
Any time we connect citizens closer to their local government, everyone benefits.
by Thomas Lukaszuk
by Ric McIver
by Jim Prentice