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Cleaning up government: Wildrose proposes changes to strengthen Conflicts of Interests Act

EDMONTON, AB (February 25, 2013): With PC corruption and ongoing ethic scandals plaguing the Alberta government, the Wildrose Official Opposition announced its plan today to clean up government with their recommendations to strengthen the Conflicts of Interest Act

Later today, Wildrose Justice Critic Shayne Saskiw and Wildrose Calgary-Shaw MLA Jeff Wilson will submit the Wildrose recommendations today at the Conflicts of Interest Act Review Committee. Highlights of the recommendations include:

  • Strengthening the office of the Ethics Commissioner by giving him or her power to initiate an investigation, by requiring more clarity with respect to the rules governing the financial disclosure of Members of the Legislature, and by better outlining how the Commissioner reports and publishes the results of investigations which discover a breach.
  • Including apparent conflicts of interest as well as actual conflicts, and broadening the language to include relatives and friends when defining people who are considered "associates" of a Member of the Legislature.
  • Toughening the “cooling off” period for former Ministers along with senior and political staff by eliminating the exemption clause from the Act, prohibiting employment within the government as a whole during the cooling-off period and extending the cooling-off period to former political staff members from 6 months to 12 months.

“We have seen this Premier award patronage appointments to failed government Ministers and fail to tell the truth about her blatant conflict of interest in the rewarding of a $10 billion tobacco litigation lawsuit,” Saskiw said.  “We know Redford has little interest in taking aim at the 41 year old culture of entitlement embedded with this PC government, but Albertans can be assured that the Wildrose is committed to running a clean, ethical and accountable government that plays by the rules.” Many of the recommendations matches the legal standards set by other jurisdictions such as the Government of Canada and Government of British Columbia and directly address the ethical failings of the PC government both in the hiring of former Agriculture Minister Evan Berger and in Premier Redford’s awarding of a $10 billion dollar contract to her ex-husbands law firm. “We know from the evidence that no matter who is in charge of the PC party, it’s clear that this government is more interested in serving itself than doing the right thing,” Wilson said.  “Our proposals are smart and match the standard set in other jurisdictions in Canada so as to ensure the integrity of this institution and those elected to serve in it.”