Backlash on planning bill leads Redford to announce delay

The Alberta government has decided to open Bill 28 up for more consultation one day after experiencing intense backlash over the new legislation that would give the province more power over municipalities.
Premier Alison Redford announced on Thursday that her government is delaying Bill 28 to allow for more consultation with municipalities. (CBC)

The Alberta government has decided to open Bill 28 up for more consultation one day after experiencing intense backlash over the new legislation that would give the province more power over municipalities.

Premier Alison Redford announced Thursday that Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths will set up a task force with the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) and the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties before the bill moves any further. 

“Of course, this is exactly the right time to do it because we have new people elected in many councils. Some new mayors and reeves," Redford said. 

The move comes after opposition parties vowed to fight what they termed “draconian” and “monstrous” legislation. 

The bill, introduced this week, would allow the government to appoint members of regional planning boards, set geographic boundaries and fine mayors and councillors $10,000 or a year in jail for refusing to hand over paperwork.

Wildrose leader Danielle Smith said on Wednesday that mayors and reeves were going “ballistic” over the proposal. Today, she said that the provincial Tories must have bowed to pressure.

“They got to the PC backbenchers and caucus looks like they pushed the premier to make the right decision,” she said. “We're glad she did."

The bill made it to second reading as MLAs continued sitting into the early hours of Wednesday morning.

"Had we not sounded the alarm, this bill would have passed through completely in the middle of the night,” said NDP MLA Deron Bilous.

“And second reading was at 1:45 in the morning. The government was trying to slip this bill through."

Redford is facing a leadership review on Nov. 22 and some people believe that some of her actions are related.

"The fact that the government killed their own bill after second reading shows that they're in full retreat on the eve of their leadership review,” said Liberal leader Raj Sherman.

When asked about how she felt about that review on Thursday, Redford took a shot at the Wildrose Party, which had its annual general meeting last weekend.

"I'm very proud of the fact that we're going to have more than 500 people at our convention,” she said.



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