By Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press on February 5, 2024.
CALGARY – The City of Calgary says it has received notice of a recall petition against Mayor Jyoti Gondek, but it adds that the petition would need more than a half-million names in the next 60 days to remove her from office.
The city said in a news release Monday that the notice has been officially reviewed and deemed compliant with the Municipal Government Act. The act was updated by the Alberta government in 2022 to allow eligible voters to file petitions to recall politicians, including mayors and municipal councillors.
“This is the first notice of recall petition that has been received by the City Clerk’s Office since the legislation took effect,” city clerk Kate Martin said in the release.
Gondek’s office emailed a statement in response to the recall petition.
“In October 2021, Calgarians put their faith in me to be a mayor who could bring balance and stability to this city at a time when polarized ideologies stood to divide us,” the mayor said.
“I remain steadfastly committed to the work of building a future that holds opportunity and prosperity for everyone who lives here. We have work to do. Onward.”
The petitioner, who is listed as Landon Johnston, did not respond for a request for comment and it wasn’t immediately clear why he filed the notice.
Gondek has faced criticism for everything from property tax increases to a new NHL arena for the Flames to her decision late last year not to attend the annual menorah lighting ceremony to mark the beginning of Hanukkah.
The City of Calgary said the petitioner has 60 days, until Apr. 4, to collect signatures from people who are eligible to vote for Gondek and submit the petition to the city.
“For the petition to be successful, the representative recall petitioner must collect signatures from at least 40 per cent of the population within the City of Calgary,” Martin said in the city’s news release.
“All signatures must be original signatures and a recall petition may not be signed in digital form.”
The city said the petition would be measured against a population total of 1,285,711, which means it needs more than 514,000 signatures to meet the requirements.
About 393,000 of 847,556 enumerated electors voted in the last municipal election in 2021.
Other recall petitions have been attempted in Alberta, but only one has been successful.
Voters in Ryley, which is east of Edmonton, successfully removed Nik Lee as a councillor in June 2023 by getting 250 of the village’s 460 residents to sign a recall petition.
Some voters in Medicine Hat also tried to remove that city’s mayor with a recall petition last year but it failed to get enough signatures.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Feb. 5, 2024.