January 26, 2018

Concerns from Albertans not welcome at NDP-run committee

Yesterday, yet again, NDP members of the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship voted down a common-sense motion from the United Conservatives to allow the committee to meet with stakeholders and be able to hear their concerns directly.

David Hanson, United Conservative MLA for Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills, put forward the motion, a measure required because the rules of the Standing Committee simply do not allow for any activities to be undertaken other than the specific task assigned to them, even if there is ample time between meetings dealing with the assigned task.

“It’s completely unacceptable that Albertans should have to wait for years to meet with the committee and give feedback on bills and policies that affect their lives, said Hanson. “The NDP’s repeated decision to block Albertans from having access to this all-party committee effectively says that their feedback is simply not welcome.”

This is the second time in less than two months that the NDP members have deliberately chosen to defeat a common-sense motion that would allow stakeholders to express their concerns directly to the all-party committee.

The purpose of legislative standing committees is to review policies referred to them by the Legislative Assembly and give due consideration to other issues that fall within their mandate.

Several groups have been waiting over two years to hear back on their request to meet with the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship, including the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC), Independent Power Producers Society, Alberta Used Oil Management Association, and others.

The NDP tried suggesting that AAMDC members already had a chance to voice concerns at their recent convention – but a conference with over one thousand delegates with limited opportunity to get a thirty-second question into a limited question-and-answer session is hardly the same as access to a standing committee.

“The issues that fall under the mandate of the Standing Committee on Resource Stewardship are of particular concern to rural Albertans,” noted Don MacIntyre, United Conservative MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake. “The NDP’s steadfast opposition to this common-sense motion shows that they are genuinely not interested in hearing from Albertans, especially rural Albertans, on issues of importance to them.”