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NDP target legislative abuse of power in new private member's bill
EDMONTON -- Aimed at preventing abuses of power by elected officials, Bill 202 Conflicts of Interest (Protecting the Rule of Law) Amendment Act was tabled Thursday by the Opposition justice critic Kathleen Ganley.
The private member's bill calls for changes in the Conflicts of Interest Act that would block politicians from interfering in investigations into their affiliated party.
Ganley says Bill 202 responds to changes the province's ethics commissioner, Marguerite Trussler, has been asking for since 2017.
In December, the NDP called upon Tussler to investigate the firing of former election commissioner Lorne Gibson.
“When the UCP fired Election Commissioner, while he was investigating their party for serious violations of the law, they dealt a serious blow to the rule of law.” said Ganley.
“If the Legislature passes Bill 202, it will go a long way towards rebuilding the faith that all Albertans should have in their institutions. That faith was shattered by Jason Kenney last fall.”
The governing United Conservative Party eliminated Gibson's office shortly after their first budget last October.
Ganley says they’re unsure whether the investigation started by Gibson to look into the 2017 UCP leadership race is paused or stopped altogether.
“It was clear that the Elections Commissioner’s investigation was going somewhere, somewhere I think the public had an interest in....I certainly didn’t expect them to fire him.”
Bill 202 also proposes changes to the Conflicts of Interest Act, including clarifying the definition of “private interest” from not just financial gains but investigations as well.