Calgarians rally, sign Mayor Gondek recall petition

Calgary residents collect signatures for Mayor Jyoti Gondek recall petition on Saturday. Silvia Naranjo reports.

By Silvia Naranjo, Tiffany Goodwein, and Alejandro Melgar

Calgarians supporting a mayoral recall petition gathered outside city hall Saturday in what they named the “Recall Mayor Gondek” kick-off event.

Those disappointed with Jyoti Gondek’s policies lined up to sign the recall petition, with many saying the single-use items bylaw has been one of the trigger points.

“That’s when I just stepped in. I said, if no one else is going to buy all this, then I will,” petition organizer Landon Johnston told CityNews.

“And initially, it was just going to be me doing it. Nobody ever contacted me. Nobody asked me to do it. Like I just wanted to do it because I felt it was the best way to have my voice heard.”

Reports citing police say over 100 people showed up to sign the petition, with many leaving soon afterwards.

Their goal is to collect as many signatures as possible for the petition that intends to remove the mayor from office. They have less than 55 days to gather the required signatures.

According to the Municipal Government Act (MGA), the petition requires more than 500,000 signatures, which represents 40 per cent of Calgary’s population.

So far, Johnston says they have 2,000.

“We’ve had people all week getting signatures so once they start coming in, I’m going to update … Twitter and I’m going to update the website, just have like a little tally of how many were coming in and I mean, the way it’s going, I mean who knows what we can get,” Johnston said.

Landon Johnston poses for a photo by steps that lead to the Municipal Building in Calgary
Landon Johnston poses for a photo by steps that lead to the Municipal Building in Calgary on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Tiffany Goodwein, CityNews image)

When asked about the response to the petition, he says it’s been “overwhelming.”

“It’s weird because it’s incredible, but it’s also disheartening that this many people are upset with the city, you know what I mean? Like, you would hope the best for your city at all times. But just the amount of people that are unhappy with the current leadership… says a lot about the city,” Johnston said.

“I think now it could be a good time to show the council members that, you know, we still have a voice, right? We still have a voice, even though you were elected, we still have the opportunity to be in control of what happens to our city.”

Watch: Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek responds to recall petition to remove her from office

Gondek, who said the notice for the petition “stings a little bit,” says her biggest concern is the collection and use of personal information through the recall process.

“Now you got this recall opportunity where people will be disclosing their personal information to an individual, and I’m not really sure how confidentially that will be kept or what will happen with that information,” she told reporters earlier in the week.

Johnston says he has as big a problem with the process as the mayor, saying he is working “to expose the absurdity of the actual process.” He also adds he is following guidelines, and if there is a problem, then the government should make changes to the MGA.

“The government is the ones that need all this information, and so we have to get it to do it. So if they’re upset with the process, they’re the ones who can change it,” he explained.

If the petition is submitted and declared sufficient, then Gondek could be removed from office. If the petition is declared insufficient, no further recall petitions in relation to the same member of council will be accepted.

It should also be noted the petition can only be signed in person and online signatures won’t be accepted.

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