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Intimidating AUMA wrong, time for a new deal for municipalities

EDMONTON, AB (February 14, 2012): Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths’ aggressive and combative letter to the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association shows precisely why municipalities need a new deal in Alberta, the Wildrose Caucus said today. Yesterday, Griffiths sent a letter to AUMA President Linda Sloan saying that the government will boycott the Feb. 16 AUMA breakfast because of its criticisms of the provincial budget. 

This isn’t the first instance of a Redford minister picking a fight with municipalities.  Last month, Finance Minister Ron Liepert allegedly used abusive language towards an Airdrie alderman over the government’s contentious land use legislation (Liepert also sent a letter to the CAODC in 2010 similar to Griffiths’ recent letter to AUMA).  Further, a Redwater council member alleged that she had been intimidated by Jeff Johnson, the current Minister of Infrastructure. “This is yet another example of this government failing to listen to municipal representatives, ignoring their concerns, and forcing municipalities to beg cap in hand to meet the needs of their residents,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. “Municipalities need a new deal and a new relationship with the provincial government: one that recognizes their role as a democratic order of government and equips them with the resources they need to make decisions and serve their citizens."  Wildrose Municipal Affairs Critic Paul Hinman said that Griffiths’ letter is a classic example of how the PCs do business in Alberta – not only with municipalities, but with anybody or group that doesn’t toe the party line. “This is how they operate. Either you toe the party line or you stay silent. Criticism is not tolerated,” Hinman said. “After forty years of PC bullying, it’s time for a new deal for municipalities in this province that doesn’t put their funding at risk.” On Thursday morning, February 16th, 2012, Wildrose leader Danielle Smith will address AUMA at the Matrix Hotel in Edmonton and Wildrose caucus MLAs will attend the breakfast. Smith and Wildrose MLAs welcome feedback on the Wildrose Commitment to Municipalities and look forward to establishing a new approach to meet the needs of Albertans. The WildroseCaucus stands for free enterprise, less government, increased personal freedom and democracy.