Citizen Initiative another large leap forward for government accountability in Alberta

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2021/03/16

CALGARY, AB: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation applauded the Alberta government for introducing a citizen initiative bill in the legislature today.

“Albertans deserve the right to hit the eject button on bad laws,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director. “If legislation belongs to the people, then the people should have a direct ability to introduce legislation or repeal bad laws and citizen initiative gives us that ability.”

Citizen initiative triggers a referendum to introduce or repeal legislation if enough voters sign a petition supporting the initiative. The CTF has long advocated for referendum laws and made recommendations to the government’s Democratic Accountability Committee last fall.

Citizen initiative has been successful in British Columbia where it allowed voters to defeat the HST after the government bungled the transition process.

Referendums have given taxpayers the opportunity to block Calgary’s 2026 Olympic bid and British Columbia’s proposed transit tax. 

After Alberta’s New Democrats imposed their carbon tax without mentioning it in their 2015 election platform, citizens’ initiative would have given Albertans the opportunity to repeal the tax.

“Citizen initiative is a powerful tool to give voters more influence over the laws that govern Alberta,” said Terrazzano. “This represents another leap forward for accountability in Alberta and Premier Jason Kenney deserves credit for living up to his promise and allowing Albertans to directly influence laws by forcing referendums.”