Lesser Slave River's government consists of a Reeve elected at large, and six Councillors representing two municipal divisions. Division 1 includes the communities of Flatbush, Chisholm, Hondo and Smith. Division 2 includes the communities of Mitsue, Marten Beach, Canyon Creek, Widewater and the land adjacent to the Town of Slave Lake. Though they bring unique mandates and perceptions to the table, Council shares the vision to steward a municipality where prosperity is the norm, and where residents have the resources they need to thrive.
Municipal elections are held every four years on the third Monday in the month of October pursuant to the Municipal Government Act and the Local Authorities Election Act. The last municipal election was held on October 16, 2017.
Running for Lesser Slave River Council: General Considerations
To become a candidate you must be at least 18 years of age on nomination day, a Canadian citizen, and you must have been a resident of Lesser Slave River for the six consecutive months preceding nomination day.
You are ineligible as a candidate for Lesser Slave River under the following circumstances:
- if you are the auditor of the municipality
- if you are a municipal employee, unless you take the entitled leave of absence
- if your property taxes are more than $50 in arrears or you are in default, for more than 90 days, for any other debt in excess of $500 to the municipality
- if you have, within the previous 10 years, been convicted of a offense under the Local Authorities Election Act, the Election Act or the Canada Elections Act
- If you are a judge, member of parliament, senator, or member of the legislative assembly, you must resign that position before you take office as a member of council.
The demands on your time will be heavy. You will be elected for a four-year term of office and during that time you will be required to attend:
- regular and special meetings of council
- council committee meetings
- meetings of other boards and agencies to which you are appointed as council’s representative
- conferences, conventions, seminars, and workshops for training and discussion
- social and other events promoting your municipality
You will also need to spend time reading material and talking with residents, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), and others. This will all be part of the necessary preparation for meetings so that you can make informed decisions. Don’t forget the time you need for your personal life, work, etc.
As a member of council you will have the opportunity to significantly influence the future of your community. Your power as a member of council depends on your ability to persuade the other members of council to adopt your view. All decisions must be made at meetings, held in public, at which a quorum is present.
As an individual member of council you will not have the power to commit your municipality to any expenditure or to direct the activities of the municipal employees. Any promise you make as part of your election campaign that involves municipal expenditures or the activities of the employees, can only be carried out if you can convince a majority of council that it is a good idea.
The Canadian Constitution delegates responsibility for municipal institutions to the provinces. Through a variety of legislation, the Alberta Legislative Assembly has delegated some of its authority to municipal councils. The legislation you will use most often is the Municipal Government Act.
Local legislation is in the form of bylaws that remain in effect until they are amended or repealed. You will not be starting with a blank slate and creating your ideal municipality from scratch. If you are running with some kind of reform in mind, you will have to become familiar with what exists, how it has been created – by bylaw, resolution or policy – and why it exists, before you will be able to start discussing your changes.
Some examples of local documents you will often refer to are the Council Procedural Bylaw, Land Use Bylaw, the bylaws establishing the positions of the Chief Administrative Officer and the designated officers, and the Policy Manual.
As a member of council, it will be your duty to establish policy for your municipality. It is the job of the administration to implement the policy. The Municipal District of Lesser Slave River has competent and dedicated administrators. You will need the support, advice and assistance of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) if you are to be an effective member of council. Their training, experience, and understanding of how and why things have developed as they have, will be an important resource for you.
The best way to find out what the job is all about is to spend some time reading council agendas and minutes, and talking to current members of council. Sit in on some council meetings. Talk to the CAO to find out what other information is available. This will help you in your campaign and will assist you in assuming office. If you don’t do that kind of research now, you’ll have to do it after you are elected, and you probably have more time now than you will if you are elected.
Ask how much time may be required for committee work and for council appointments to other boards and agencies, over and above the time required for regular council meetings. Once you are elected you have a duty to represent your community.
Life, Work and Leisure in Lesser Slave River