Chief electoral officer promises things are 'business as usual' after Alberta government fires election commissioner
EDMONTON -- The head of Elections Alberta is promising the recent firing of Alberta's election commissioner will not impact the investigations he had started.
Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler is preparing to take over the work of Alberta's former election commissioner, Lorne Gibson.
"Nothing has changed. The office still exists as far as the staff, investigations are continuing, nothing has ceased, and we're ensuring that everything is progressing as it should be," Resler told media on Friday.
"It's business as usual with Elections Alberta."
Gibson's contract was terminated four years early with the passing of Bill 22 last week.
He had been investigating the United Conservative Party's 2017 leadership race, for which his office had handed out more than $200,000 in fines.
The UCP government has argued moving the commissioner position into the office of Elections Alberta will save money, but the Official Opposition says it creates bad optics and a conflict of interest.
At a legislative offices committee meeting on Friday, NDP ethics critic Heather Sweet argued Gibson's firing would actually cost more money as Resler's budget request is $78,000 higher than Gibson's.
"There is no cost savings for Albertans," she said. "This is a purely partisan attack on an individual that was investigating the leadership race. This is shameful and Albertans have a right to be extremely concerned."
According to Resler, money will be saved in the future from consolidating administrative staff at both offices and by no longer leasing the commissioner's office. However, it's unknown exactly how much those measures will save.
It is also unknown if there will be a need for Gibson in the Elections Alberta office.
Resler said his team there is evaluating what will be needed from position, but that it could become a part-time role. He added if or when the position is posted, Gibson is welcome to apply.
With a report from CTV Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson