Local politics is fundamentally different from provincial and federal politics.
It is certainly true that local politics pre-dates provincial and federal politics.
Provincial and federal governments exist because of the Constitution. They are, by definition, artificial creations. Local government pre-dates the Constitution and exists substantially outside the constitution: local government is a natural creation. People in a community created local government without any felt need to write down the rules. Local government was a lived experience: people knew when it was working and when it wasn’t, and they had the gumption and the resources at hand to fix things when things needed fixing.
It is correct to remember that the Constitution Act refers to municipalities, but that provision in the Constitution did not create municipalities: it merely assigns them — for safekeeping — to provincial jurisdictions. To-day, as provincial governments across Canada are diminishing the role of local municipalities and school boards, it is time for citizens to speak to politicians about the future of local self-government and local democracy.
Local politics is, in some important respects, more important than provincial and federal politics. The health of the entire political system depends upon the health of local politics, and the ongoing capacity of the local political system to nurture every citizen’s commitment to democracy. In other words, the evolution of local democracy is a desirable prospect.
• It is essential that the evolution of local politics conform to a unique model: not the provincial and/or federal political model.
• It is essential that the evolution of democracy in Alberta promote a respectful partnership between the provincial community and local communities, because local communities are the source of vitality for the provincial community.
A new page (right) provides a side-by-side comparison of local and provincial/federal political orientations.