The Alberta government is clawing back parts of a bill that would have given Premier Danielle Smith and her cabinet the power to unilaterally fire mayors and councillors.

But a spokesperson for the province’s towns, cities and villages says the changes to Bill 20 won’t calm local leaders who have worried the proposed legislation is an undemocratic overreach.

Alberta Municipalities president Tyler Gandam told The Canadian Press on Thursday he’s concerned the goalposts for when the powers might be used still haven’t been clearly laid out.

“I think that we should be afforded the same opportunity to run in an election every four years, no different than the province,” said Gandam, who is also the mayor of Wetaskiwin, a city south of Edmonton.

Thursday’s amendments to the bill mean cabinet could only oust locally elected officials by ordering a recall vote — a walkback from what was previously proposed in the legislation.

Bill 20, as first tabled, proposed giving Smith’s cabinet the ability to fire councillors at will, behind closed doors.

Under the amendments, cabinet could only overturn bylaws that go against the Constitution or step outside legal municipal jurisdiction.

Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver has said since the bill’s introduction that he’s been keen to get feedback from municipalities.

Speaking in the House Thursday as he introduced the amendments, McIver said the changes were informed by feedback from municipalities.

“I’m pleased that we can provide more clarity in the legislation as municipalities, some of them at least, have asked for,” he said.

Still, Gandam has challenged McIver’s definition of meaningful consultation.

On Thursday, he said the brief phone calls he’s received from the minister don’t cut it.

“We’ve shared a number of concerns we had with Bill 20 and have not had the opportunity to sit down and talk that through with the province,” said Gandam, who hopes a meeting in June with Smith and McIver will help smooth out municipalities’ relationships with the province.

“It’s not hunky-dory,” he said.

Opposition New Democrats have called for the bill to be shredded.

NDP municipal affairs critic Kyle Kasawski echoed Gandam’s disappointment in a statement Thursday, but also pointed to the low public support for introducing political parties at the municipal level — another contentious element of the bill.

“The UCP are completely ignoring Albertans’ feedback as the amendments from the government don’t acknowledge this whatsoever,” he said.

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