Big City Charter
Published Monday, June 18, 2012 6:41PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 19, 2012 1:38PM MDT
The cities of Calgary and Edmonton and the provincial government are trying to streamline the delivery of government services. They are working towards what's called a Big City Charter. The three governments, the two cities and the province, claim this charter will reduce duplication.
Jim Stevenson, Calgary's deputy mayor says "we need to talk about roles and responsibilities – that's the very first thing that needs to be discussed. And then you get around to how to fund these things as various levels of government".
The idea is to figure out which level of government should be providing services and how the cost of those services should be covered.
The province says a charter will give cities the flexibility needed to meet local needs. But a political watchdog says the plan could results in new taxes.
Richard Truscott from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says "I think that it's code for new taxes, and they can't have it both ways. They certainly seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouth on this. They say everything is on the table but they aren't willing to say taxes are going to go up".
However, the three politicians signing the deal maintain it's something they don't want to see.
Doug Griffiths, Alberta's Municipal Affairs Minister says "the last thing we are going to discuss is money because as soon as we start to discuss money we stop discussing solutions".
The memorandum of understanding signed on Monday says the Big City Charter will be signed into law before the next civic election in October, 2013.