EDMONTON, AB (September 13, 2013): Despite ongoing ethical scandals and a PC culture of corruption plaguing the government, the PC dominated Conflicts of Interest Act Review Committee voted to maintain the status quo that gags MLAs from speaking out on issues of ethical conduct in the Legislative Assembly.
Wildrose MLAs Shayne Saskiw and Jeff Wilson today put forward a motion to repeal subsection 24 (6) of the Act that restricts members from speaking on matters currently before the Ethics Commissioner, which shields MLAs and ministers under investigation from facing tough questions while in the Legislature. “Albertans want a government that plays by the rules, not one that tries to hide behind them. It’s clear that Premier Alison Redford and her MLAs have no interest in changing the same old PC culture of entitlement,” Saskiw said. “We have seen Redford dance around her blatant conflict of interest in awarding a $10 billion tobacco litigation lawsuit and now she will continue to be unaccountable in the Legislature as her PC government continues to hide behind this law.” In the spring, the Wildrose presented recommendations to the committee to strengthen the current Conflicts of Interest Act by strengthening the office of the Ethics Commissioner, including apparent conflicts of interest in the legislation and toughening the “cooling off” period for former Ministers along with senior and political staff. Wilson said that it’s wrong to see PC MLAs vote in favour of protecting their own political interests instead of doing what’s right for Albertans. “We’re supposed to be putting Albertans first, but once again we see PC MLAs more interested in protecting their own,” Wilson said. “This motion would have maintained the long-standing tradition of freedom of speech in the Legislature."