In a significant legal development, the City of Chestermere’s attempt to block the Alberta government’s plan to dismiss its council and top administrators has been thwarted. On Thursday afternoon, Court of King’s Bench Justice Keith Yamauchi ruled against the city’s bid for an injunction on Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver’s pending dismissal order.
The city had sought judicial intervention to temporarily halt the province’s planned dismissal, pending the outcome of Chestermere’s judicial review of a municipal inspection ordered by the province in May 2022. This inspection had uncovered numerous governance issues within the city’s administration.
However, Justice Yamauchi determined that the applicants — Chestermere Mayor Jeff Colvin, councillors Stephen Hanley, Mel Foat, Blaine Funk, and the city’s three chief administrative officers — failed to provide sufficient grounds for the injunction. Notably, three other councillors, whose complaints initially prompted the municipal inspection, were not part of the city’s application.
The core of the city’s argument was the potential “irreparable harm” to the council and CAOs if they were removed. Justice Yamauchi, however, opined that granting the injunction would result in greater harm to both the public and the city than any potential damage to the applicants. He emphasized that the interests of Chestermere’s citizens and the city itself could suffer as a result.
Post-decision, Chestermere’s lawyer Jeff Moroz expressed intentions to consider an appeal and suggested the possibility of a judicial review if the minister proceeds with the dismissal.
With the injunction not granted, Minister McIver’s dismissal order now faces no legal impediments, though the province had previously agreed to delay any action until December. Following the court’s decision, the minister’s office indicated they were contemplating the next steps.
This ruling culminates over a year of conflict between Chestermere’s administration and the provincial government, sparked by an investigation that highlighted significant issues in the city’s governance. These findings led to 12 binding directives issued to the city in March, all of which are currently under judicial review by Chestermere.
In a recent development, Chestermere council adjusted resolutions to support and fund its legal challenges against the province, countering earlier restrictions imposed by a province-installed supervisor.
The City of Chestermere and Mayor Colvin have not yet responded to the recent court ruling. Councillor Foat, present at the Calgary Courts Centre with a group of supporters, declined to comment on the matter.