The ongoing tension between the City of Chestermere and Province of Alberta was notched up Tuesday Morning with the City of Chestermere accusing Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver and Official Administrator Douglas Lagore of orchestrating a "dictatorship-like take-over" by obstructing the council's attempts to secure legal representation for it's ongoing judicial review against the province.
The controversy centres around the disallowance of council resolutions aimed at approving, funding, and retaining legal counsel for a judicial review. The City asserts that McIver and Lagore are attempting to infringe upon Chestermere's right to a legal defence. According to the City, McIver's had previously acknowledged the City's entitlement to seek legal representation in a letter on September 25th.
The City is arguing that both McIver and Lagore are actively impeding the judicial process by preventing the council from supporting its Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) in their application for a judicial review.
The City also alleges that Lagore may have violated Alberta's Conflict of Interest Act, pointing to his disallowances and his inclusion in the City's lawsuit.
The City didn't stop at Lagore though, they are also levelling another accusation against the McIver, who they say is in breach of a court order requiring him to produce evidence supporting his investigation into the governance of the City of Chestermere.
In a post on the city-owned "Chestermere Today" website, the city says, "Our response is always the same, we don’t understand why, as they supposedly used this “evidence” to support their decision to start their investigation. Our position is that we would like all information to be provided so that we can see who is behind all of this and why."
The ongoing tension was brought to a boiling point earlier this month when Chestermere said that they would be filing an injunction to stop McIver from removing them from office.
Colvin said in another statement posted to the city-owned "Chestermere Today" website, “Our city’s future is of paramount importance to us, and the City Council’s decision to support the CAO’s legal action underscores our dedication to protect the interests of Chestermere and its residents.”
No End In Sight
The ongoing back and forth between the province and the city has been playing out in the open since March of this year.
In late March then Minister of Municipal Affairs Rebecca Schulz held a public information session in the City of Chestermere after a a month-long investigation into allegations and inappropriate conduct by Chestermere Council. The report was completed by George Cuff.
Since then the City has been under Official Administration and was given 12 binding directives to complete.