Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Apologizes for Fiasco with Regional Planning

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Apologizes for Fiasco with Regional Planning

Article excerpt

Alberta minister apologizes for bill fiasco

--

EDMONTON - Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths has apologized publicly to rural politicians for the fiasco around his bill to reorganize regional planning.

"There has been so much misinformation about Bill 28, and I take full responsibility for that," Griffiths said Wednesday in a speech to the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties.

"I owe all of you an apology for not communicating well enough what our intentions were.

"I let it get away from me."

Griffiths made the comments two weeks after he put the brakes on the bill, announcing it would not proceed without further consultation from municipal and county leaders.

The bill, the Modernizing Regional Governance Act, is designed to set up new growth boards to address the shared needs of municipalities and districts clustered close together.

Opposition parties, however, have labelled it a naked power grab by the province. The bill gives Premier Alison Redford's cabinet the power to set up the boards, decide the boundaries, pick the mandates, select the board members and sign off on all decisions.

The bill also directs that elected leaders who don't follow the wishes of the boards and submit all requested paperwork can be fined or jailed up to a year.

The key concern for municipal leaders is whether municipalities and districts can be ordered to join the growth boards under Bill 28 or have the option to opt out.

Critics say the bill makes it mandatory. The government says it's optional.

Griffiths said regardless the revised bill will make it clear that joining a growth board is optional.

That announcement didn't go over as expected.

"We're going to make changes that will make it explicit that it is your instigation and your desire to form the (growth) board, not mine," said Griffiths.

The line was met with dead silence from the hundreds of members in the room.

"I thought you guys would be happy about that," said Griffiths.

More silence.

"I'll say it one more time. We're going to explicitly say in the bill that it's voluntary and it's your initiative not mine. So it will be a tool you'll get to use if you want. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.