Edmonton – After striking an all-party Select Special Committee on Ethics and Accountability, the NDP government has introduced Bill 35, Fair Elections Financing Act, which ignores many of the recommendations and concerns put forward by the committee.
“After the many hours of robust debate in a genuine effort to improve election financing rules, it’s concerning to see the NDP play political games and dismiss recommendations made by all opposition parties,” said Richard Starke, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster.
“Instead, this Bill makes arbitrary changes to some recommendations and includes measures that were not discussed at the committee table. Our caucus is in favour of election finance reform, but we must ensure that the concerns from the all-party committee are reflected in these proposed changes.”
While the newly introduced legislation contains beneficial policies such as removing union contributions of free labour and rules clarifying third-party advertising, the Bill fails to achieve the government’s stated goal of taking big money out of politics.
“This government claims they are concerned about taking the big money out of politics, yet they did nothing to address the issue of government advertisement spending,” said Starke.
“Since the NDP took office, we have seen a concerning trend emerge where the government is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to sway public opinion. This includes $4.4 million spent on carbon tax ads and another $100,000 in an effort to sway public opinion on the Power Purchase Arrangements court case. The Progressive Conservatives support getting big money out of politics, but that must also include the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on government ads by the NDP.”