Thursday, May 13, 2010

This Week in Alberta - The Liberal Accountability Act

The Alberta Liberal Party's annual convention will be going on in Edmonton this weekend (featuring Warren Kinsella) - in anticipation of it, Daveberta and Calgary Liberal have offered their take on the state of the ALP.

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.


  • Under number 10, how about give Edmonton and Calgary the seats their populations merit?

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:19 p.m.  

  • I know the ALP has traditionally favoured electoral reform or a citizen's assembly...not sure if they've chucked that or if it's still on the table.

    And, yes, given how beneficial it would be to them to give Calgary and Edmonton fair representation, I don't see why they wouldn't do that.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:23 p.m.  

  • I'm cool with most of it, but I draw the line at giving $50.00 tax credits to people for doing what they should be doing anyway.

    Voting is a right, a privledge, and a civic duty.

    If you give $50 today, whats to stop a party from campaigning on increases to the amount.

    I have no problems with passing a law forcing everyone to show up and vote, because you can excercise your free will and scratch a vote if you want when you get to the poll, but paying someone to vote is contrary to the whole concept.

    I say show up and vote, or pay a $50 fine for being a lazy person.

    By Anonymous Joe Calgary, at 2:48 p.m.  

  • I wonder if the Alberta Liberals simply look at the most successful platforms of Conservative Parties elsewhere for their initiatives. Certainly, on their surface many of the proposals listed make good sense, regardless of who may have proposed them.

    By Blogger Paul, at 4:49 p.m.  

  • I attended this Convention, and I would say that the real story of the Convention was the fantastic job done by the President of the Party in organizing the machinery required for an election, in paying down the debt of the party to the extent that it will be eliminated by June of this year. That gives me real hope that Albertans will be given a real choice in the next election compared to the Tired Tories and the Wild Rose Alliance. With respect to the NDP, I doubt that they will be much of a factor, but the willingness of the Party to reach out and make more room in a bigger tent for BOTH NDP supporters and for Red Tories is a very promising start.

    As for David Swann as Leader, I don't think you can find a better and more prepared person to become Premier of Alberta. He comes from a Medical background and is fully conversant with the largest budget item in the Province, that of Healthcare. And Dr. Swann has the key quality that he is a team player that does not have a swollen ego.

    Finally, Journal coverage completely ignored the best headline of all, which was that the Keynote Speaker was Warren Kinsella, who played such a central role in defending the Liberal Governments of Jean Chretien and whose advice was timely, on point, and the key to winning the elections as the WIld Rose squares off with the Conservatives in a "classic split" no different than what Preston Manning did with the Reform that split the Federal Conservatives, leaving both powerless for more than a decade.

    So it is a grave miscalculation to think that the Liberals are somehow "divided". The Liberals are in better shape today then I have ever seen them, dating back to at least the time when Laurence Decore very nearly defeated the PC government.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:25 a.m.  

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