Restore trust in our government by implementing the toughest ethics laws in Canada
Posted on April 17, 2015 by Greg Clark
The PCs are abusing the weak ethics laws they wrote
Since Jim Prentice became Premier, we’ve heard a lot of promises to clean up the PC government. Unfortunately, the PCs continue to take advantage of the weak ethics laws they wrote, which are among the weakest in the country.
“Blatant Political Opportunism” - Ethics Commissioner
Alberta’s Ethics Commissioner investigated Education Minister Gordon Dirks after his narrow win in the October by-election. During that election, Dirks attended a flurry of “sod turning” ceremonies for new school announcements and re-announcements. Days before the vote and neck and neck in the polls with Greg Clark, Dirks publicly announced new portables for a school in his constituency, notwithstanding that Alberta Education had not actually approved the schools. Despite Alberta’s weak ethics laws which permit this type of activity during an election, the Commissioner called Dirks’ conduct “blatant political opportunism”. Unfortunately, the Commissioner had no power to sanction Dirks’ conduct due to the PCs’ weak ethics laws.
PC golf course sole sourcing
The Calgary Herald reported that the PCs entered into a secret deal with Kan-Alta Golf Management Ltd. (Kan-Alta) with respect to restoring the flood damaged Kananaskis golf course. So far $9.3 million has been paid to Kan-Alta, including $3.9 million that the PCs failed to disclose when this issue was first raised in the legislature. To make matters worse, the PCs sole sourced the contract, contrary to Alberta’s trade obligations which requires all contracts over $100,000 to be publically tendered.
Intimidating public servants from volunteering for political parties
Earlier this week, the PCs were forced to revoke newly introduced rules that were designed to intimidate public servants from participating in politics. The PC government had required civil servants to report their political activities, including if they are volunteering for a party. These rules are fundamentally undemocratic and intimidate public servants from participating in the political process.
Taking credit where credit isn’t due
Gordon Dirks’ latest election website claims personal credit for replacing the Elbow footbridges destroyed in the 2013 flood. However, design, construction and funding for the new bridges occurred months before Dirks was ever elected as MLA. In fact, Dirks had only been an MLA for 11 days by the time Mayor Nenshi cut the ribbon to open the last of the new bridges on November 28, 2014.
The Alberta Party has a better way.
We will fight to restore trust in our government by advocating for the toughest ethics laws in Canada.
1. Prohibit public spending announcements during an election.
The quality of our government depends on Alberta having a healthy democracy. When governments use taxpayer dollars to buy votes in an election we all lose.
2. Prohibit cabinet ministers from using their office for political gain.
During an election, cabinet ministers should not be allowed to make decisions that will benefit their ridings.
3. Conduct government business in the legislature - not behind closed doors.
The Alberta Party believes in an open government, where business is conducted in the legislature and not through secret deals.
4. Toughen Alberta’s campaign finance laws.
The Alberta Party will fight to place donation limits and eliminate fundraising loopholes that have been eliminated in other provinces.
5. Strengthen our democracy by redefining the role of MLAs to better serve constituents and reforming how the Legislature operates.
The Alberta Party will work to bring decision-making closer to the people. We believe MLAs should be citizens’ voice to government, not the government’s spokespeople to us.