November 19, 2014

Strengthening Democracy & Ending Entitlements: Capping severances, improving transparency and cracking down on travel perks

EDMONTON, AB (November 19, 2014): A Wildrose government would limit severance packages across all government departments , crack down on government travel perks, dramatically improve whistleblower legislation and implement recall legislation, the Wildrose Official Opposition announced today.

The commitments are just part of Moving Alberta Forward: Strengthening Democracy & Ending Entitlement – the seventh of nine policy initiatives Wildrose has announced this summer and fall.

“Albertans are looking for a new generation of leaders dedicated to putting the word service back into public service,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said.  “It’s time for new, bold and innovative ideas that get back to putting Albertans first, and restores trust, ethics and integrity to our government and democratic process.”

Instead of the government’s narrow focus to limit severance only for political staff, the Wildrose would pass legislation limiting severance packages for all senior government officials and political staff to less than $100,000 for five or fewer years of employment and no more than $200,000 for more than five years of employment. 

All future government air travel will be booked commercially in economy class; only in rare instances will business class travel be permitted for long flights outside of North America.

“Our policy will also protect taxpayers and work towards balancing the budget without sacrificing front line services,” Wildrose Finance Critic Rob Anderson said. “With the price of a barrel of oil at $70, it is more important than ever to ensure ever dollar is spent wisely."

Under a Wildrose government access to Freedom of Information requests will improve, while whistleblower legislation will be dramatically strengthened to protect all direct and indirect government employees or contractors who report wrongdoing.

The Wildrose democratic reform plan calls for MLA recall legislation that mandates an immediate by-election where 20 per cent of electors in a jurisdiction, within a three month window, sign a certified petition.  

To read the entire policy document, click here.

Other highlights of Moving Alberta Forward: Strengthening Democracy & Ending Entitlement include:

  • Designate a specific Ministry to oversee an approval process for whether or not a proposed travel itinerary (including air travel, number of travelers, accommodations, food and other travel expenses) is legitimate government business and is being done in a cost effective manner
  • Mandate that all direct and indirect travel expenses of elected officials and senior staff be fully and publicly disclosed in a single online report
  •  Strengthen the offices of the Ethics Commissioner, Auditor General and Chief Electoral Officer
  • Provide easier and more affordable public access to Freedom of Information requests. A reverse onus of proof will be put in place mandating that before any FOIP requests are denied, the government must prove to the Privacy Commissioner that the information requested by the media or public should not be released
  • Restore representative democracy by mandating all final votes in the Legislature be free and reported to the public. Motions of non-confidence would be held as separate stand-alone votes
  •  Institute legislated fixed dates for provincial elections, the opening of legislative sessions, and the presentation of the Budget and Budget Updates

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