Wildrose MLA introduces bill allowing voters to recall MLAs

The Alberta legislature.
The Alberta legislature. File/Global News

EDMONTON – Alberta’s official opposition wants to give Alberta voters the power to recall their MLAs.

Wildrose MLA Leela Aheer has introduced a private members bill that would allow voters to apply to Elections Alberta for a recall petition. Under the Recall Act, if 20 per cent of area constituents sign in support of the petition within 60 days, a by-election would be called for the constituency; the now-former MLA would be eligible to run.

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Each petition would cost $5,000, paid to Elections Alberta. Any eligible voter would be able to start a petition.

Last year, an online petition was made to recall former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith after she, along with 10 other Wildrose members, left the party and joined the Progressive Conservatives. The petition received more than 8,600 signatures.

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Under the Recall Act, voters would be able to recall MLAs if they switch parties.

Currently, British Columbia is the only province in Canada with provincial recall legislation. In B.C., the minimum percentage of voters needed to support the recall is 40 per cent, compared to 20 per cent in the Wildrose proposal.

Also, B.C. provincial recalls can only take place 18 months after a provincial election. There is no minimum time requirement in the Wildrose bill, meaning a petition could, in theory, be introduced as soon as polls close on election night.

Since introducing the recall law in 1995, there have been 26 recall petitions in British Columbia. All 26 have been unsuccessful.