Using the money and power of government to try and buy votes during a writ period will be banned under new legislation being put forward by Wildrose MLA Rick Strankman today.
Bill 203, Election (Restrictions on Government Advertising) Amendment Act, 2015 promises to make elections fairer by ensuring the government does not use its resources to aid in partisan campaigning during an election period.
“Albertans said loud and clear in the last election they are tired of the same old politics that buys votes and breeds cynicism,” Strankman said. “Our government must be held to a higher standard of scrutiny.”
Saskatchewan and Manitoba’s legislatures have recognized this problem, and have banned any government bodies from making announcements during an election campaign or a byelection.
While in opposition, Premier Rachel Notley called for amendments to the current Elections Act to, “prohibit MLAs from using government resources during elections or byelections.” To its credit, during the recent byelection the NDP did not make any funding announcements during the writ period.
Wildrose Shadow Democracy and Accountability Minister Jason Nixon applauded the NDP for keeping their promise, but said legislation will ensure no government is tempted to break this commitment in the future.
“This legislation is not only common-sense, the NDP agreed with us on this last year, so it’s time to get this passed into law,” Nixon said. “We hope that all parties will support Bill 203, which will hold government accountable and protect taxpayers from reckless vote-buying tactics.”