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UCP wants to fire official that was investigating UCP

The United Conservative Party has introduced a motion that would lead to the elimination of a standalone elections commissioner’s office – the group investigating breaches of the Elections Act by the UCP.




The United Conservative Party has introduced a motion that would lead to the elimination of a standalone elections commissioner’s office – the group investigating breaches of the Elections Act by the UCP.

The office has already levied tens of thousands of dollars of fine in breaches leading up to the UCP’s leadership vote that elected now-premier Jason Kenney.

And in a move described as “sickeningly anti-democratic,” the UCP invoked closure on all three reading of the bill.

Bill 22, the Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions and Government Enterprises Act, if getting Royal assent, would see current election commissioner Lorne Gibson fired and his staff transferred to the office of Alberta’s chief electoral officer.

That officer would be then be responsible for hiring a new elections commissioner. Gibson had a contract lasting until 2023.

Finance Minister Travis Toews said at a press briefing firing Gibson and combining the offices is purely for administrative efficiencies.

He said it should save $1 million in the next five years, Toews said.

He said the government can’t force the electoral office to continue any current investigations because they are independent.

Premier Jason Kenney was in Texas Monday and unavaiable for comment.

Calgary NDP MLA Kathleen Ganley noted the UCP invoked closures on all three levels of the bill.

“This is sickeningly anti-democratic,” she tweeted.

“They are so embarrassed by their actions they invoked closure before they even introduced the bill.”

Toews said he can’t compel the chief electoral officer to continue any current, ongoing investigations because the office is independent.

Gibson’s office has handed out $211,000 in fines against people and organizations involved with Jeff Callaway, who ran for leadership of the UCP in 2017.

Callaway was also fined for accepting donations he ought to have known were prohibited.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ed George Whitehorse

    November 20, 2019 at 11:38 am

    The fuss this has caused is comedic. We have Finance Minister Travis Toews claiming no firing is taking place that this is only an elimination of the un-necessary NDP manufactured position . . .
    and Notley claiming, no matter how you cut it, direct dismissal or constructive dismissal the job is gone and it shouldn’t be because the position is in the middle of an investigation of the current political party.

    I see it as an exercise in political maneuvering (media pandering) with Notley seizing an opportunity to bring her name and thus by association, the New Democratic Party to the for front of news for the day (or week, however long this drags out).
    I think Toews is attempting to offer up an excuse by semantics. It’s not working for me. If I was the Elections Commissioner and told that my title no longer exists, I don’t think my first question would be “So where shall I report for work tomorrow? Sir.” it would be more like; “You must be in error. I have a contract with you until 2023. Breach of contract will cost you extra. Where do I pick up my buy out?”

    I heard a guest on a streaming radio say Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson was hired to be fired by Notley. Did he really think that Notley planned this? SMH.

    I don’t care. The UPC should have give Gibson his walking papers on day one. Let the opposition squawk. This is similar to “distracted” driving. Put your head down and get Alberta on track. Pave the way for Independent Alberta.

    Where does my animosity come from? Prior to the election I observed video provided by the RebelNews regarding Sheila Gun Reid and her “Stop Notley” book. In that segment, a power starved bureaucrat presented himself and exercising his minimal prowess prevented a sign being installed on a lawn.

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Questions swirl about accountability of Conservative Party’s funds




The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has fired its Executive Director the day after Andrew Scheer resigned, and as questions swirl about accountability for funds raised from donors to the party.

As Dustin van Vugt was released from service, the party says it will review how expenses are approved. Andrew Scheer stepped down as CPC leader amidst controversy over using party funds on Thursday morning, but was re-appointed as Interim Leader by the Tory Caucus.

The story – which is developing with contradictory information – began Thursday morning when it was leaked to the press that Scheer would resign. Allegations that Scheer was using party money from donors to pay for his children’s private school tuition surfaced shortly afterward, but had been swirling around media circles the day before. The Western Standard learned of the potential scandal Wednesday morning, but was unable to confirm a source, and so declined to publish.

Andrew Scheer (source: WikiCommons)

Van Vugt released a statement after the leader’s resignation saying that Scheer was eligible for expenses related to relocating his family to Ottawa, and that amount was covered only for the difference in costs that the family had paid in Regina, Saskatchewan.

After question period Thursday, the Tory caucus went into another meeting and reemerged to inform media they had chosen Scheer – who had resigned hours earlier – to be the Interim Leader of the party.

According to the CPC’s constitution, the “Conservative Fund Canada is a non-share capital corporation incorporated under and governed by the provisions of the Canada Corporations Act.” It is “the sole fundraising arm of the Party and shall be the chief agent of the Party pursuant to the Canada Elections Act.”

Most federal and provincial parties elect a board that oversees both the administration and finances of the organization.

The Conservative Party of Canada has two separate arms of governance; the National Council – elected by members every two years and is responsible for Party business – and the Conservative Fund directors – who, according to (9.8) of the Constitution are nominated by the Leader – and are responsible for the party’s financial affairs.

In effect, this means that Conservative Party members have no say or oversight into how money is raised or spent.

There are seven current directors of the Fund, including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Senator Linda Frum.

In 2016, Irving Gerstein, Conservative Fund Chair and a former Senator appointed by Harper, addressed delegates at the CPC convention in Vancouver.

“On behalf of the directors of the Fund – all being volunteers – I say to you, that as long as the Fund is in control of the financial affairs of the Party, we will see that the fund fulfills its obligation to operate in a prudent and fiscally responsible manner.”

John Paul Tasker, a reporter with CBC politics tweeted that a source close to the Fund said “they did not know Scheer was receiving party funds to pay for his kids’ private schooling. They were looking it when Scheer resigned. They do not view his decision to resign as coincidental and would not have approved expenses if asked.”

According to Section 10.4 of the CPC’s Constitution, the Executive Director is nominated by the Party leader (subject to ratification by the National Council). Dustin van Vugt was hired in July of 2014 to replace Dmitri Soudas.

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New Brunswick breaks ranks with Alberta on carbon tax

New Brunswick is breaking ranks for Alberta and fully complying with Ottawa’s carbon tax




New Brunswick is the latest province to present a carbon tax plan on fossil fuels with its Gasoline and Motive Fuel Tax Act introduced in the Legislature Thursday.

“For us and for New Brunswickers, climate change is real, man-made, and worthy of action,” said Finance and Treasury Minister Ernie Steeves.

“One of our key priorities is to energize the private sector. With our made-in-New Brunswick carbon tax plan, we will protect New Brunswickers and ensure the sustainability of our environment, as well as that of our communities and our economy.”

The “made-in-New Brunswick” carbon tax on fossil fuels will go into effect April 1, 2020

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister introduced the new Ministry of Conservation and Climate Change when his government was sworn in on October 23, 2019.

Sarah Guillemard, MLA for Fort Richmond was appointed to lead the Ministry.

“(T)he new Department of Conservation and Climate (is) a single department charged with environmental and climate stewardship,” according to a news release on the Manitoba government’s website.

“The department is responsible for ensuring responsible growth including delivery of the made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan, and Efficiency Manitoba.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney in Alberta received federal approval of his TIER program, which maintains a carbon tax on about 50 per cent of Alberta’s emissions, on December 6th.

Kenney repealed the NDP’s “made-in-Alberta” carbon tax plan in May and eliminated programs through Efficiency Alberta that had been funded by the carbon tax.

“Albertans made it clear over the course of the election that they have no interest in taxpayer-subsidized home renovations schemes,” Jess Sinclair, spokesperson for Environment Minister Jason Nixon told the Calgary Herald in an email at the end of October.

Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan are still moving forward with their carbon tax challenge in a three-day hearing at Alberta’s Court of Appeal next week. New Brunswick officials have not said whether they are still intervening in the challenge.

Ontario and Saskatchewan appeal courts have both upheld the federal government’s jurisdiction.  

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Alberta premier’s approval rating plummets

Jason Kenney’s approval rating has gone from being in the top three of Canada’s premiers to bottom three in less than a year.




Jason Kenney’s approval rating has gone from being in the top three of Canada’s premiers to bottom three in less than a year.

The Edmonton Journal commissioned poll of approval ratings show Kenney has a 40 per cent approval rate, a notable decline from his pre-election approval rating of 55 per cent.

An earlier Leger poll reported Kenney’s approval rating at 42 per cent at the beginning of December.

Former NDP Premier Rachel Notley had 40 per cent approval as well – pre-election.

The poll showed Quebec Premier Francois Legaut was the most popular and Ontario leader Doug Ford the least.

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