August 16, 2017

FOIP documents show the fix was in on labour review: UCP

New freedom of information documents show the fix was in on the NDP government’s sweeping labour code and employment standards changes, with Premier Rachel Notley issuing a list of “must do’s” months prior to consultations taking place, the United Conservative Party caucus said today.

The documents, released by Keep Alberta Working, an independent business coalition, show a senior Labour Department official sending an email with the “list of must do’s for the LR [labour review] amendments that Premier asked for,” (Pg. 115). They also show evidence of draft legislation being developed as early as June 9, 2016 (Pg. 54), nine months before consultations between the government and Alberta business groups were set to take place.

Glenn van Dijken and Prab Gill, the United Conservative Party caucus labour critics, called the government’s consultations with business groups a sham.

“The NDP bulldozed through consultations in just 36 days because they knew the outcome from the start,” van Dijken said. “Once again, this government failed to properly consult with the people who would be most affected by their policies. These documents make it clear: the government’s consultations on this legislation, especially with respect to labour code changes, were a sham.”

Gill said the NDP bargained in bad faith with Alberta business groups during consultations.

“The NDP had its marching orders from the start, and were misleading business groups when they promised fair, fulsome and open consultations,” Gill said. “This was alarmingly intentional and biased.”

United Conservative Party Caucus Jobs Critic Richard Gotfried questioned why labour lawyer Andy Sims was brought on at a cost of $80,000 to advise the government on the matter, and why Labour Minister Christina Gray told the CBC “legislation wasn’t written prior to the consultation period.”

“None of this is adding up for Albertans. There is now clear evidence of draft legislation being developed prior to consultations, despite the NDP swearing the opposite,” Gotfried said. “The Premier has a lot of explaining to do.”