McLennan byelection cancelled

Richard Froese

South Peace News

A byelection scheduled for April 20 in the Town of McLennan to fill a vacant councilor seat has been cancelled altogether.

That’s the word the town received from Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee after the regular town council meeting April 14.

“Therefore, the Town of McLennan council will operate with one vacant councillor position until the next general municipal election on Oct. 18, 2021,” returning officer and CAO Lorraine Willier says in an e-mail April 16. 

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, this is for the safety of electors, candidates and election officials.”

At its meeting, council decided to send a letter to Madu to request the byelection be postponed to Oct. 1.

However, Madu approved a ministerial order that authorizes the town to not proceed with the byelection under a change in the Municipal Government Act (MGA).

The amendment states that a council must hold a byelection to fill a vacancy on council unless the council consists of six or more councillors and the vacancy occurs in the 21 months before a general election and there is only one vacancy.

A full council in McLennan is served by one mayor and six councillors.

Now, town council will have one mayor and five councillors.

Willier had consulted with municipal affairs officials after the COVID-19 was declared a pandemic March 11.

Social gatherings are limited to 15 people in a room and people are required to be at least six feet apart by social distancing, under orders by Alberta Health Services and provincial and federal regulations.

Willier says the town would have had to restart the election process by having a byelection Oct. 1.

“We would have had to re-open nominations,” Willier says.

Three candidates filed nominations for the byelection, now cancelled.

Terry Calliou, former councillor Margaret Jacob and former town CAO Tammy Stout were running for the seat.

They were seeking to fill a vacant seat created after Issac Kocherla resigned Jan. 22.

He stepped down since he moved out of the region.

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