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Bill 22 officially law, election commissioner's contract terminated
EDMONTON – Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell gave Bill 22 royal assent Friday, effectively terminating the contract of Alberta's election commissioner and putting his investigation of the 2017 UCP leadership race in limbo.
The bill was introduced Monday and passed third reading after four days of debate.
Effective immediately, the responsibilities of the Office of the Election Commissioner are transferred to the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer. According to a release from Elections Alberta, all investigations started by the election commissioner will continue.
A new election commissioner could be hired by Elections Alberta.
The move will reportedly save $1 million over the next four years.
The election commissioner, Lorne Gibson, was in the midst of an investigation into allegations of illegal donations in the 2017 UCP leadership race.
Opposition Leader Rachel Notley accused the UCP government of obstructing justice by firing him. She was removed from chambers Tuesday after refusing to apologize.
Premier Jason Kenney said Friday that the change is a consolidation of a redundant, separate election bureaucracy and that the work will continue.
"There's no reason for any interruption in any enforcement action that may be underway," Kenney said at an event in Calgary. "This simply brings the enforcement function back into the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer where it resided from 1905 to 2018 and where it resides in every other province."
The NDP want to know what efforts are being made to secure the documents from the election commissioner's office and to preserve their integrity, as well as that of the commissioner’s open investigations.
"There is absolutely no guarantee embedded in the statements from the chief electoral officer that the investigations will continue," Notley said.
The opposition has sent a letter to Elections Alberta asking for a report to the legislature on the work that was done, ideally before the house rises.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson