Legal heads to the polls
Two seats open in byelection
By: Kevin Ma
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 24, 2012 06:00 am
Legal residents will head to the polls this December to fill two empty seats on council.
Former town mayor Albert St. Jean officially stepped down as councillor of Legal on Oct. 16. Phil Hughes had previously stepped down on Oct. 2.
Since they only had five councillors to start with, said Mayor Lisa Magera, the town now has to call a by-election. The Municipal Government Act requires all councils smaller than six people to hold by-elections in the event of vacancies unless there is less than six months until the next general election.
“We need to fill those positions,” Magera said.
First elected around 2008, Hughes said he was obligated to step down because of the Municipal Government Act, which says that councillors must resign if they miss all regular council meetings during an eight-week period.
That happened this summer when he missed two meetings because he was working at the Calgary Stampede, Hughes said, which happened to be the only meetings council had during an eight-week stretch. There was supposed to be a meeting at the end of the stretch, which he did attend, but it was a special meeting so it didn’t count.
Hughes said he had no idea he had fallen afoul of the act until council flagged the problem about a month later. “I didn’t want to cause the town any more cost,” he said, so he agreed to step down.
Hughes said he enjoyed his time in office and would recommend it to anyone, but he wasn’t sure if he’d run for office again. “I think it’s time for me to move on.”
St. Jean said he stepped down because he planned to move to his new house just outside of Legal this winter, which would disqualify him as a councillor as he would no longer be a town resident. He stepped down as mayor last year for the same reason.
St. Jean said his eight years in office were a great experience — one that he would definitely miss. “If I wasn’t building a house outside town, I wouldn’t be leaving.”
He cited his work on the town’s gazebo, skateboard park and trail system as highlights of his career.
St. Jean said he wasn’t sure if he would run for office again, but did plan to stay active in Legal as a volunteer. “Our family has been involved with the town since 1949,” he said, and there could well be a St. Jean running in this upcoming by-election.
The by-election itself will be held Dec. 3, said Wilma Weiss, the town’s chief returning officer, with nominations due by Nov. 6. Anyone who is a Canadian citizen, 18 or over, and a resident of Legal for six consecutive months before nomination day can apply to run. They’ll need the endorsements of five town residents plus a $50 deposit to run.
Nomination forms can be turned in at the town office on Nov. 6 between 10 a.m. and noon. Call 780-961-3773 for more on the by-election.