This Week in Alberta - The Liberal Accountability Act
The ALP also made some news this week, by releasing their "12 Step Clean Government Initiative". Here are the 12 proposals, and my quick gut reaction.
1. Establish an independent commission with binding powers to set MLA pay, beneﬁts and bonuses. Going after MLA salaries and pensions always makes for good politics. I think the better political punch would have been to propose a wage freeze or a pension cut or something with a little more oomph than a commission, but I can't complain.
2. Make all MLA expenses and compensation publicly available online. Given the debate going on federally over this, now's a good time to strike on this issue.
3. Lengthen and strengthen cooling off periods to prevent senior civil servants from ﬂip-ﬂopping between high-level public and private sector jobs. I'd have to be convinced this is a big problem, before doing celebratory backflips.
4. Strengthen the Lobbyist Act. In what shall forever be known as "The Busty Hookers Act".
5. Strengthen the power of Officers of the Legislative Assembly. It's scary how little power the AG and other officers have in Alberta compared to their federal counterparts.
6. Reduce the power of the Premier’s office. There's the usual democratic deficit fluff on empowering backbenchers and free votes, along with a much needed pledge to abolish the Public Affairs Bureau (AKA "The Ministry of Truth"), which spends millions of taxpayer dollars pushing out government propaganda.
7. Protect whistleblowers.
8. Ban all corporate and union political party donations.
9. Lower election donation limits for individuals. Given the federal laws, 8 and 9 make a lot of sense. (Of course, I'm sure Alberta breweries would disagree...)
10. Reform elections. Enumerate voters? Great idea! Redraw electoral boundaries each election? Not so much. Offer a $50 tax credit to everyone who votes? Intriguing...
11. Increase ministerial accountability. This isn't exactly bringing sexy back, but it's good policy.
12. Establish fixed election dates. Elections will be held the last Monday of June, every four years. Unless of course Stephen Harper decides otherwise.
In 12-step programs, the first step is usually admitting you have a problem. Even though these proposals are good policy, they'll only earn the ALP votes if enough Albertans are willing to do just that.