February 25, 2016
NDP needs to keep their word on keeping level playing field during byelections
After scrapping Bill 203 in the fall, Wildrose is urging Premier Rachel Notley to maintain her election promise to not use government resources as a way to buy votes during the Calgary-Greenway byelection, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
During the fall sitting of the legislature, Wildrose Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman attempted to pass Bill 203, Election (Restrictions on Government Advertising). The NDP government instead chose to kill the bill by sending it to committee.
On Tuesday, Notley called a byelection for Calgary-Greenway, with voters scheduled to head to the polls on March 22.
“Wildrose believes that the NDP government can and should be abiding by a higher standard that doesn’t allow for vote buying during a byelection,” Wildrose Democracy and Accountability Critic Jason Nixon said. “Many Albertans believe they can no longer trust this government and take them at their word. I urge the NDP to not give in to the temptation to make flashy announcements, and instead do the right thing by committing today to agree in principle to the guidelines set out in Bill 203.”
Saskatchewan and Manitoba legislatures have recognized this problem, and have banned any government bodies from making announcements during an election 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”. Since being elected to government, the NDP has declined to follow through on enshrining those same amendments into law.
“The NDP government have an opportunity to follow through on a common sense commitment that they previously made and that has been strongly advocated for by Wildrose,” Nixon said. “I sincerely hope that they choose to do the right thing.”