December 11, 2017

UCP stands up for democracy as NDP rams major legislation through at last minute

The United Conservative Official Opposition is prepared to extend the fall sitting of the Legislature to hold the NDP to account for recent changes to Alberta’s elections laws that would remove key measures like residency requirements.

“The UCP Caucus has an obligation as the Opposition to carefully consider every piece of legislation and to offer thoughtful amendments wherever possible,” said UCP Opposition Leader Jason Nixon. “From day one of this session, the NDP has been manipulating the process in an attempt to make sweeping legislative changes to the foundation of our democracy with little to no public scrutiny. Albertans deserve more from their government and we are committed to staying as long as we need to hold the NDP to account and consider amending their own anti-democratic legislation.”

The current legislative logjam is the result of NDP incompetence and mismanagement. Since the fall session began on October 31, the NDP adjourned debate early 11 times in the first ten days, while introducing five bills, totalling more than 565 pages, in the last seven days. The NDP had little to no legislation at the beginning of the session, but are now trying to ram significant bills with hundreds of pages in new laws through the Assembly in just a few days.

“We have serious concerns about the level of consultation and public engagement conducted by the NDP on these bills, particularly Bill 32, which will have a major impact on how elections are conducted in Alberta,” said UCP Democracy and Accountability Critic Nathan Cooper. “The fact that the NDP didn’t see fit to contact Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer before introducing these changes shows just how incompetent they are, and we are calling on this government to do the right thing and send Bill 32 for further study toa standing committee of the Legislature. The fate of our democracy is far too important to rush through without thorough study and consideration.”

The NDP’s Bill 32 was introduced on a Monday, with an expectation that it would be passed just four days later on the following Thursday. In comparison to federal changes to election laws, the Harper Government’s Fair Elections Act took 135 days to pass into law, with 29 committee meetings and over one hundred witnesses appearing to testify before a multi-partisan committee of MPs who could ask questions of the government about the impact of the proposed changes.