Province introduces new expense-disclosure policy
Published Wednesday, September 5, 2012 4:40PM MDT
Premier Alison Redford announced Wednesday an updated expense disclosure policy for many high-profile elected and provincial officials – but critics believe it’s not enough.
In Calgary Wednesday afternoon, the premier said the new requirements would include details on travel, accommodation, meal and hospitality expenses.
The new policies would apply to Ministers, Associate Ministers, and their political staff, members of the government caucus, Deputy Ministers and executive managers in the Alberta Public Service and senior officials appointed by Order in Council and paid by the government.
“It’s the government’s responsibility to make that information publicly available, so that the people that we serve can truly hold us accountable for every dollar that we spend,” Premier Alison Redford said.
However, the NDP said the government is trying to divert Albertan’s attention away from the public bodies that have been making contributions to the Conservative Party, with taxpayer’s money.
Brian Mason said none of that information is public – and the government has left itself a loophole.
“It does provide that anyone can get an exemption to any aspect of that policy by simply applying to the Treasury Board,” NDP Leader Brian Mason said. “So they can go to a cabinet committee, behind closed doors and they can cancel all or part of this entire policy and make an exemption.
“They’ve left themselves a back door that’s huge.”
The province said the new policy was developed through a review of the government’s current disclosure policies, an evaluation of the best practices in other jurisdictions and in discussions with Alberta’s Information and Privacy Commissioner.
The policy will be reviewed by the privacy commissioner in one year.
Now, the policy will be referred to the Treasury Board Committee and will be brought in by a Treasury Board Directive.
It will be in place on a go-forward basis on October 1, and will be reported on a bi-monthly basis. Therefore, the first report will be available online in December.
With files from Kim Taylor