The future of the Alberta Government’s much ballyhooed democratic reform committee is up in the air.
The Select Special Ethics and Accountability Committee was established a year ago to recharge the the province’s rules for elections, election finances, and whistle-blower and conflict of interest. The mandate runs out next week, and Government House Leader Brian Mason says it might not be renewed as opposition members are deliberately hampering the committee’s work. So far, the committee has only dealt with the whistle-blower section as the debate over election finance reform drags on. Mason says, “I have to say I’m pretty disgusted with the tactics of the opposition parties since this committee began a year ago. It’s due to report close to the end of this month and they filibustered that committee from start to finish.”
Opposition MLAs say the government is trying to rig campaign finance rules in favour of the New Democrats before the next election. Jason Nixon of the Wildrose party says, ” Our biggest concern is the changes overwhelmingly in our mind are to the benefit of the NDs.”
Mason says the legislature will have to decide what to do when the mandate expires. He says, however, if the opposition won’t work to pass recommendations, simply creating a new committee won’t solve the problem.