Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Democratic Reform Committee, Beset by Infighting, Faces the Scrap Heap

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Alberta Democratic Reform Committee, Beset by Infighting, Faces the Scrap Heap

Article excerpt

Alberta democracy committee faces scrap heap


EDMONTON - Alberta's government house leader is accusing opposition members of deliberately derailing the work of a flagship committee on democratic reform.

Brian Mason also left open the possibility the all-party legislature committee could be left on the scrap heap when its mandate expires next week.

"I'm pretty disgusted," Brian Mason told reporters Tuesday. "(The opposition) have filibustered that committee from start to finish, they've made up phoney points of order and points of privilege (and) they've attacked chairs for just trying to do their job.

"They clearly do not want to see any restrictions placed on their ability to tap their rich friends for campaign money."

The one-year mandate of the Select Special Ethics and Accountability Committee expires on Sept. 28.

Little work has been done.

Mason wouldn't say if the committee's mandate would be extended or a new committee struck, noting it's a decision made by the entire legislature.

"There's another meeting of the committee on Friday and we're certainly prepared to give the opposition another chance to roll up its sleeves and do the work that they were mandated to do," he said.

Mason suggested that otherwise there would be little point creating another committee.

"If the opposition is opposed to reform, you can set up another committee (but) they're liable to use the same tactics once again," he said.

The committee was set up in 2015 in the glow of Premier Rachel Notley's NDP election victory over the Progressive Conservatives.

It is a sprawling 17-member body, with eight New Democrats, four Wildrose members, two Progressive Conservatives, Liberal Leader David Swann and Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark. The 17th member and the chair is NDP member Jessica Littlewood.

Its mandate is to help breathe new life into Alberta's democratic system by recommending changes to legislation on elections, election financing, whistle-blower and conflict-of-interest rules. …

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