Legally speaking, municipalities in Alberta have no standing. The provinces can undermine any directive or decision of a municipality, but seldom do. I recall only one incident in Alberta of the province stepping in.

The province sets up the rules for municipal elections--and can, legally speaking, overturn the electoral result (but seldom do). The province also sets up the forum for how the councils conduct their business and make decisions (rules of order). The councillors, as a body, have great deal of latitude for decision-making, like which streets to repair first or whether to take money from street repairs to subsidizing recreation.

But like the federal US government treats its states, the provinces tie a lot of grant money towards specific outcomes, which kind of hovers over the councillors' decisions. They are not as independent as they could be.

I'm pretty sure that there are no partisan municipal councillors (i.e. elected on a party platform) anywhere in Canada. When casting a vote, the councillor is free from partisan influence.

And I think this shows in the lack of scandal or bad decisions in municipal governance. There is a lot more of this at the provincial and federal level. The paradox is that municipal governance seems to much more sound, but municipal governance has no legal standing. Strange arrangement. But that's what happens when we stick with systems from 1867.


I did pick up your "Forged in Fire" comment two posts ago. While very profound and real, this quote speaks to worse time. I hope we don't have to go through a war of some kind to effect the changes we need to make. I doubt the victors of that war would be interested in an egalitarian democracy.

Dave Volek is the inventor of “Tiered Democratic Governance”. Let’s get rid of all political parties! Visit

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