Opposition would aid municipalities

Leaders of Alberta’s opposition parties addressed a number of issues at the annual Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and

Leaders of Alberta’s opposition parties addressed a number of issues at the annual Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMC&D) conference, in Edmonton last week.

“Municipalities need a hand up, not a handout,” said Alberta Liberal Leader Raj Sherman.

Although there were disagreements between the three leaders; Sherman, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith, and New Democratic Party leader Brian Mason, they did agree more power needs to be handed to municipal governments.

Smith and Sherman agree provincial revenue needs to be shared by the province with lower levels of government.

When asked about the current municipal taxation structure, Mason said there are limit to resources available to municipalities. He also said a form of revenue sharing is needed.

“In reality everyone has funding problems,” said Sherman. His question was, starting at the highest levels of government, where is the money going when Albertans are working harder than ever.

Sherman believes power should be handed to municipal governments that will allow them to increases taxes or levies to aid in reducing deficits.

Alberta has an infrastructure deficit that all the leaders recognized, and Smith said government needs to put a finger on how big the debt is so stable, long-term plans can be created accordingly.

Smith believes there is a need for more funding shared between the levels of government and stopping wasteful spending is part of the answer.

Mason disagreed and doesn’t believe the deficit can be met by cutting expenditures because that limits the means of municipalities.

Striking a balance between industry, people and water was also discussed at the conference. Municipalities, especially in southern Alberta, are having problems accessing water needed for development.

Sherman said his government thinks independent monitoring is needed to enforce that water is being used properly. Fracking, which is already a sensitive subject for Albertans, was also mentioned and Sherman believes fracking could be done with salt water.

Mason took his stance on the matter one step farther. “A rational use of water needs to be implemented.”

He believes fracking with fresh water should be prohibited, and fracking as a whole needs to be regulated more strongly.

In fracking, water is put back underground and isn’t returned to the system. Smith added there also needs to be better classifications regarding water use so people who are retuning the water to the system aren’t penalized.

Smith also said industrial processes where water is not returned should be reduced.

Other resources, such as land, also need to be managed and developed responsibly.

To manage and integrate different sectors, such as oil and gas and agriculture, long-term planning needs to take place, said Sherman. To do this citizens and industry need to sit at the table together to strike a balance.

More time needs to be taken when planning for the future. “The only way we can support our municipalities, both big and small, is by building and maintaining strong relationships with them,” said Sherman.

Just Posted

Ponoka County resident wants $62,000 in lease revenue

County approves revenue to landowner going forward, legal review to look at retroactive funds

Bashaw peewee club’s season comes to an abrupt end

Players decide not to go into playoffs without one of their teammates

Ponoka man attacked by dogs issues plea to town council

Troubles with bylaw and handling of court case prompts presentation to council

Ponoka County receives letter of intent related to livestock operations

The Ponoka Right to Farm Society intends to submit claim through Court of Queens Bench

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

Hee-Won Son takes home gold in 500m Female Short Track Speed Skating

Team Alberta sits in second place overall at the Canada Winter Games

Shots fired in Maskwacis home invasion

Maskwacis RCMP are searching for three suspects in a home invasion (with photos)

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Crude-by-rail shipments set new record in December despite lower price discounts

Canada exported nearly 354,000 barrels per day of oil, up seven per cent from November

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

Most Read