The NDP has voted down a private members’ bill that would prevent governments from making manipulative announcements during election periods, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
Bill 203, the Election (Restrictions on Government Advertising) Amendment Act, 2015, promised to make elections fairer by banning government spending announcements during writ periods. Premier Rachel Notley campaigned on implementing this very same legislation.
“It’s confusing that Premier Notley has decided to turn her back on a promise to support legislation banning government announcements during elections,” Drumheller-Stettler MLA Rick Strankman, the MLA who put forward the bill, said. “Last election, Albertans said loud and clear they wanted to see politics done differently in this province. The NDP’s decision to kill this bill is baffling and deeply disappointing.”
Last November, Premier Notley blasted the former PC government after it made a series of spending announcements during four fall byelections. At the time she said, “Manitoba and Saskatchewan both have election laws that would prohibit the kind of spending that went on during the byelections,” and asked former Premier Jim Prentice, “My question to the premier is: to regain integrity and trust with Alberta voters, why won’t he commit to amending our elections law so that this can’t ever happen again, and if he won’t commit to it, why won’t he?”
Wildrose tried to reach across the aisle and work with the NDP to pass a good bill into law. The NDP chose to vote down one of their own campaign promises not because of any flaws in the bill, but for purely partisan reasons.
“This was an easy opportunity to pass a law that all well-meaning legislators support,” Strankman said. “I really thought the NDP could look past partisanship on this one, but apparently not.”