Citizen Initiated Referenda Presentation
On Monday, 19th October, Project Confederation's Executive Director, Josh Andrus, made a presentation on Citizen Initiated Referenda to the Select Special Democratic Accountability Committee
The following is a transcript of the presentation.
Thank you for having me, this is Josh Andrus, presenting on behalf of Project Confederation.
I am presenting on citizen-initiated referenda today.
Project Confederation is an independent third-party organization seeking a Fair Deal for Alberta.
We have reached out to thousands of our supporters regarding citizen-initiated referenda and based on this feedback we have a series of recommendations to bring forward.
We agree with the Premier's statement that citizen-initiated referendums are an important part of the Fair Deal process.
Citizen-initiated referenda are also a campaign promise that the United Conservatives made during the last election and Albertans are expecting the party to deliver on these promises.
Obviously, politicians have a vested interest in this issue and some will be hesitant will to give voters the additional input into policy decisions that citizen-initiated referenda would allow for.
Politicians who respect the views of their constituents should have no reason to worry and should trust that Albertans will make the right decisions.
Getting the signature threshold right is crucial.
Project Confederation recommends a threshold of five percent of voters who voted in the last provincial election regarding the number of total signatures.
It's important to remember that the threshold simply allows the voters to have their say, so we should err on the side of giving Albertans more say and better democracy in general.
A six-month window for the collection of signatures is recommended.
If the window is too short it could be affected by poor weather or seasonal events such as harvest or summer vacation.
The last thing we would want is to make the collection window so short that successful signature collection would be dependent on when it was held rather than the popularity of the issue.
We would also like to recommend that the government set up a petition review process to work with organizations and citizens to ensure that ballot questions are easy for the voter to understand.
Finally, we would like to recommend that citizens should have the ability to bring forward initiatives of a constitutional nature.
Constitutional discussions should not be exclusive to the sitting government.
I would like to thank you for your time and consideration and wish you the best as you move into the next stages of this process.
The presentation was also followed by a question and answer period, which will be available online at a later stage.