Calgary mayor pushes Municipal Affairs minister on police funding, embattled Councillor Chu

Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver (L) and Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek. Government of Alberta, City of Calgary

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek sat down with Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver Thursday to discuss several items affecting the city, including the police budget, a city charter and an embattled councillor.

In a statement to Global News, the minister called the first meeting “cordial,” adding “I look forward to working with Her Worship going forward.”

On Nov. 8, Calgary city council heard that the Calgary Police Service is requesting a $6-million increase in its budget in order to hire 38 new positions.

In a press release, the mayor referenced a $13-million cut in provincial funding for police in 2019.

“With an upcoming ask for increased funding coming from Calgary Police Chief Neufeld, I reminded Minister McIver that the agreement his government has asked Calgary to sign is still lacking dollars that we could be using for community-based policing,” Gondek said.

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Gondek also said she raised the matter of Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu’s continued term on city council.

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Alberta economy to return to pre-COVID levels by 2022 as mayor Gondek sets stage for economic recovery

“This Minister could lead by demonstrating there is no place in public service for anyone found to have misused authority in positions of power, but he instead chooses to fall behind a weak legal opinion. Minister McIver should lead right now.”

Last Friday, the minister said he received external legal advice from Brownlee LLP on what options he has under the Municipal Government Act to remove a member elected to council.

“While the Minister of Municipal Affairs has supervisory jurisdiction over municipalities, the minister does not have authority to simply remove a councillor from office under the legislation, particularly for events that took place before a councillor was elected,” the minister said, via a statement, at the time.

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Gondek also said she asked the minister to start developing a big city charter for Calgary and Edmonton.

According to the Centre for Constitutional Studies, a big city charter could give those cities increased autonomy, like find increased revenue streams to keep up with infrastructure deficits and population increases.

“Together, our governments can find success for the two most populous cities in Alberta,” Gondek said. “We need a real charter that provides economic certainty, better service levels, and recognition as our role as economic powerhouses for all Albertans.”

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