Rory J. Koopmans, B. Admin., #203, 8912-156 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T5R 5Z2
January XVIth, MMX
Hon. David G. Hancock, QC, MLA, Minister of Education, Progressive Conservative, Edmonton-Whitemud
Arguably, this would be more of an issue for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. But, changes in Electoral Act laws must be run through the Alberta Legislature. I do not favour fixed terms of office for MLA's and MP's. I think that parliamentary tradition should continue to be upheld and that the governments should be able to fall at any time. Any jurisdictions that already have fixed term parliamentary elections should eliminate them. I like the fact that the government, if only elected to a minority loses the tactical advantage of deciding when it will leave office, it makes for better legislation & therefore better democacy.
However, I do agree with fixed term election writs for the offices of City Councillors, Reeves, & Mayors. As well as School Board Trustees. But David, there is a real problem here. Holding the elections in the what third wek of October makes no sense. Especially since the standard school year usually starts anywhere from August XXVIIth to September Vth. So I propose backdating the School Board & Council elections to the month of May. This has the advantage of giving the new members the pleasure of being trained by their colleagues & time to adjust to their new jobs.
Of course, there should be a longer transitional period like they have in the United States. The new Trustees should not be sworn in until one day after graduation & final exams are written. Then they have the entire summer to both relax & then hunker down for the fall term afresh & ready to spring new & exciting educational ideas on our citizenry. Holding the writ in May would arguably be better as more voters would turn out at the polls not having to trudge through snowdrifts. Plus, students who are stuck in their classrooms in October could be assigned to go out on special voting trips to see the voting process take place. Making them more likely to want to vote themselves in the future.
I also think the term office length should be extended from 3 to 4 years. Arguably, a Trustee is just as valuable an office holder as an MLA. More important even as they are non political (since they can't have party affiliation) & are working for children, not for any particular cause. In the US Congrssional elections, the House of Representatives has to get reelected every two years. This is stupid as the candidates spend every second year campaigning for reelection, thus being paid to do no actually work in the Congressional Chamber every second year.
In a three year term of office, the Trustee spends the first year learning the job, the second year performing it, and the third year campaigning for reelection (the same goes for Councillors, Reeves & Mayors.) How in the heck are the children's needs supposed to be served if the Trustees are out there on the job for their own necks & no one elses? So lets lengthen the term of office for Trustees (& City/County leaders) to 4 years. Lets change the election month to May. This can happen now David. All you need are 43 votes in the Legislature Chamber David. You are my good sir a very persuasive fellow. I think you know that democracy is best served by this recommendation.
Source: The Municipal Act, Province Of Alberta.