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Recall Petition Filed Against Mayor Jyoti Gondek by City of Calgary Residents

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek is facing a recall petition that could end her term in office 18 months before the next municipal election.

The City of Calgary announced this week that it received notice of a recall petition against Ms. Gondek on Jan. 30.

The document has been officially reviewed and deemed compliant under the province’s Municipal Government Act. The act was updated by the province in 2022 to enable eligible voters to file petitions to recall politicians at both the provincial and municipal level.

“This is the first notice of recall petition that has been received by the City Clerk’s Office since the legislation took effect,” city clerk Kate Martin said in a press release. “For the petition to be successful, the representative recall petitioner must collect signatures from at least 40 percent of the population within the city of Calgary.”

Launched by Landon Johnston, the city resident must now obtain more than a half-million names in the next 60 days to remove the mayor from office. The 514,285 in-person signatures he must collect by April 4 represents roughly 40 percent of Calgary’s population during the last election.

Ms. Gondek, in an emailed statement to the media, said she remains committed to serving her city despite the petition.

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“In October 2021, Calgarians put their faith in me to be a mayor who could bring balance and stability to this city at a time when polarized ideologies stood to divide us,” Ms. Gondek said. “I remain steadfastly committed to the work of building a future that holds opportunity and prosperity for everyone who lives here. We have work to do. Onward.”

Petition Goals

Mr. Johnston told the Calgary Herald his petition is a bid to “hold these elected officials’ feet to the fire.”

“The council and mayor’s favourability rating has dropped to a new low, and I believe she has lost the trust and will of the people,” Mr. Johnston said. “Whether this petition is successful or not, it is my personal goal to make every last councillor uncomfortable to hold office whilst being so unfavourable in the eyes of the people they serve.”

If Mr. Johnston is successful in his bid to collect more than a 500,000 signatures; the submitted petition will be evaluated over a 45-day period during which the city clerk will determine if the document is sufficient.

To be deemed sufficient, only individuals who are eligible to vote may sign the petition. Approximately 393,000 of 847,556 enumerated electors voted in 2021.

If sufficient, Ms. Gondek would be recalled and would no longer be a member of council or any council committee, the city said. A by-election would be held to fill her seat.

If the petition is deemed to be insufficient, Ms. Gondek will continue in her current role.

Other recall petitions have been attempted in Alberta, but only one has been successful.

Voters in Ryley, located east of Edmonton, successfully removed Nik Lee as a councillor in June 2023 by getting 250 of the village’s 460 residents to sign a recall petition.

Voters in Medicine Hat also tried to remove that city’s mayor with a recall petition last year, but they failed to collect the required number of signatures.

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.

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