Setting the record straight on Bill 21-the Modernized Municipal Government Act
By Shaye Anderson, MLA for Leduc-Beaumont and Minister of Municipal Affairs.
I read the recent column from Tyler King, "RMWB firings show Bill 21 fight not over," and would like to set the record straight.
Any job loss in Alberta is unfortunate. We know that when layoffs are announced, we’re not talking about a number. We’re talking about real Alberta families who are struggling.
However, there is no fight about Bill 21 -the Modernized Municipal Government Act.
The Modernized Municipal Government Act, which passed the legislature unanimously late last year, does not require the RMWB to adjust its non-residential to residential tax ratio to become complaint to the new 5 to 1 ratio. There is also no timeframe or impetus in the legislation that requires municipalities such as the RMWB to become compliant with this provision. Therefore, it is inaccurate to suggest that layoffs are a result of Bill 21.
Truth is we spent months asking Albertans for their thoughts and feedback on revisions to the Municipal Government Act. When Albertans told us they had new ideas for the Act, we didn’t just implement those either. Instead we created a discussion guide so every person in our province could give their input. The guide, which can be viewed at mgareview.alberta.ca, summarizes topics that emerged during our summer engagement tour on the MGA and proposes ways the act could be amended to address them.
It is inaccurate to suggest that layoffs are a result of Bill 21.
One of those topics is compliance with the linked tax rate ratio. A steering group comprised of RMWB councilors, administration and representatives of industry is studying how and if a transition to comply could be done sustainably and responsibly and will report back to the Government of Alberta later this spring. We’re working closely with your locally elected leaders and oilsands companies to chart a path forward that strikes the right balance between supporting business and ensuring communities like yours have the resources they need for a sustainable future.
In a tough economy, Albertans deserve a government that listens and makes life better. We will ensure that the long term success and sustainability of the RMWB is protected, while supporting an industry that supports jobs and prosperity in the region. Nothing in Bill 21 - the Modernized Municipal Government Act will jeopardize that.
First published in Fort McMurray Today, Feb. 17, 2017