public un-accounts committee.

According to its mandate, Alberta’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts is an all-party committee consisting of 17 Members of the Legislative Assembly that reviews the annual report of the Auditor General of Alberta and the public accounts of the province. It is tradition across Canada that an opposition MLA occupy the Chairmanship of this committee.

Via to Capital Notebook, Edmonton-Gold Bar Liberal MLA Hugh MacDonald is crying foul after his powers as Chairman were severely limited by a recent motion by Wetaskiwin-Camrose PC MLA Verlyn Olsen to require that “all future correspondence on behalf of the public accounts committee (must) be signed by both the chair and deputy chair.” The Deputy Chair is currently Calgary-Lougheed PC MLA Dave Rodney.

More from Capital Notebook:

…before MacDonald can send out e-mails, make plans for future meetings, and demand government bodies make an appearance before the all-party committee, Calgary-Lougheed Tory Dave Rodney (the deputy chair) must give him the nod.

It’s an unusual practice, since it doesn’t happen in any other legislative committee, all of which are dominated by government Conservatives. Olson’s motion this morning was backed by all present government members and opposed by NDP Leader Brian Mason and Calgary-Varsity Liberal Harry Chase. (MacDonald, as the chairman, can’t actually vote.)

This is not the first time that the already limited power Alberta’s Public Accounts Committee has been harshly criticized. Here is an exert from MLA Kevin Taft‘s 2007 book Democracy Derailed which describes how much that committee’s oversight power had been limited:

Alberta’s Public Accounts Committee can meet once a week only when the legislature is sitting, which is all of three months per year. During approximately a dozen 90-minute meetings, the committee must review the spending of 24 provincial government departments with a combined budget of $24 billion.

That’s not all. Unlike the federal Public Accounts Committee, Alberta’s Public Accounts Committee cannot submit a report to the legislature. Legislators outside of Alberta find this restriction hard to fathom. Conservative Member of Parliament John Williams said “It’s shocking. I cannot believe a government majority would use their capacity to set the rules like that.”

It is unclear what prompted Mr. Olson to introduce this motion or why the PC MLAs on the committee supported it. I have contacted Mr. Olson’s office for an explanation and if I receive a response, I will post it here. I try to stay away from conspiracy theories, but with MLAs expected to start their summer break tomorrow (yes, in April) and the introduction of the distracted driver legislation taking the headlines, it feels like this motion was designed to be lost in the shuffle.

UPDATE: Alex Muir from the Roundhouse blog has offered some thoughts on Mr. Olson’s motion.

11 thoughts on “public un-accounts committee.

  1. jerrymacgp

    … and this surprises you how? Alberta has the most unaccountable government in Canada, and this is simply true to form for them. It is quite a strain on the word to call it a democracy.

    Reply
  2. CMG

    Does anyone have any idea why they made this move? It seems a bit out of the blue. Hughie has been chair of public accounts for awhile now why would the gov make this strange and unanticipated move?

    Reply
  3. Midge

    You gotta wonder what the hell is going on here? When the extremely under-the-radar invisible MLA Olsen pops up to front something like this, you know there has to be something that will benefit the PCs – and not to our benefit!

    Reply
  4. MIke

    I didn’t even realize that my MLA did ANYTHING! This is just a waste of the political process. Why even have a committee if you can’t use the committee process?

    Maybe my MLA should man up & ask why the Wetaskiwin Airshow cannot use the neighboring Reynolds Alberta Museum as a parking lot & spectator area.

    Reply
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  8. Anne Fox

    Guess What Dave,

    As long as the Public does not know what the fakers are doing they get away with it. Here’s the info. Ted Morton Finance Minister is part of the Calagary gang of four/Build a Firewall Around Alberta Group which Includes Prime Minister Harper and Jonathon Dennis. He’s involved with Jarislowsky Fraser through his Brother James Morton who is part owner. Jarislowsky is the third richest man in Canada. He uses his money to gain control and interest. He’s Funding Research Chairs Accross Canada and the Research is Scewed. Canada Funds these Chairs as well check out the reduction of protection for experimentation on Human subjects being sponsored through the University of Guelph. Guess who is behind it. Autism Speacks of Vancouver. They want to widen the definition of Autism and they want to use information from the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital which is where the experimentation will take place. Check out the Celebritys on the Autism Speaks website. You’ll see activist Jenny McCarthy check out Frontline on the Vacination scare and you’ll see these people don’t care who they hurt. Then check out the next celebrity Alec Baldwin he has written a book about Parental Alienation Syndrome. Guess what? It’s a fake syndrome banned in four states because the children called liars when they spoke about abuse by an abusive Father were being discredited using this stuff. Check out the Dr; Phil show on this topic. Guess who uses the same attack on children. Yes the govcernement of Alberta. The Parenting After Seperation Courses which are amndatory and the laws regarding the inability of the Parents to protect their own children if Children’s Services some how gets involved by the use of Risk assessment apprehension involving Domestic disharmony. Guess what Dave after they apprehend the child they send the parents to the course. Guess what Dave then the Father who abuses children is advised to refuse to co-opertae with his wife. Then the actions he takes against the children are increased by the Political hostage taking for financial gain through refusal to fund any issue which is not treatable by medical intervention. You guessed it Dave, the Political Hostage goes to the Glenrose and is designated a special needs child then guess what Dave. The attack on the child begins in earnest. There is a bright side Dave, the province often doesn’t have to pay for experimental treatement on children who are pretend autistic they have the Federal Governement pay for the treatment of Treaty Status Kids and Autism Speaks pays for most of the treatment Research they do on Non-Aboriginal kidnap whoops hostage whoops Apprehended children and it saves money Dave.

    Dave your blog is starting to look like a gov’t rag. Contact me and I shall tell you a tale of Boutros Boutros Ghali and our friend Alison Redford. Ever heard of Supranationalism combined with Anarcho capitalism. You guessed agin Dave its Rape propaganda. denigrate a certain group or race of women then refuse law enforcement services. Yes. Heather Forsythe is in this too.

    Reply
  9. Anne Fox

    Dave Guess what else is going on with Heather Forsythe:

    She is the tough love queen of the Alberta bunch. If you thought that laws which have been the essence of child attack by people roused up in a heat of fears you haven’t seen nothing. Forsythe gave some public remarks about the domestic violence trap she has sset for Alberta women. She spoke to Reader’s Digest Canada and advertised the whole sale attack on women by saying they committ acts of Domstic violence as often as men do. Goyt that women are now beating up men at a high rate and they don’t care that they make 66 cents on the dollar for every buck he makes for equal work. Well many years and much abuse later of course it was revealed by statistics Canda that the Police based statistical data reveals only who reported domestic disharmony or minor injuries Dave. Guess who men from Alberta’s men’s groups Dave. They don’t care if their children get apprehended as child witnesses Dave. They just want that love. Tough love Dave we get it at every angle. Heather Forsythe said that if you get a little bleery eyed from studying the Self Esteem literature from your health class and your Mom is hyped into a frenzy three or four cops will come to your door and drag you out of bed for some tough love at the dry-out centre. No one aploigizes after the testing comes up negative Dave. The stunned kid starts planning an escape. What would you do if it happened to you. Forsythe says we’ll thank her for this… I’d rather have some of that old time AADAC appointment or something to prove that I was straight. I don’t know Dave. I think that the Hippy culture has been a bain on the throught patterns of a certain age group. Ever heard of Chuck Manson. He played some games with a bunch of pot lovers and dopers. Know what they did. What does Leslie Van Houton look like now? You guessed it Dave and then we have the Law Enforcement Againt Prohibition crowd Dave. They don’t believe that the new high THC pot should be illegal. Stoners wouldn’t have to worry. Old stoners that is. I’d say I’ve had about enough of the tunein turnon and drop out crowd reforming all of our laws. We are not them wearing seventies cloths again has nothing to do with it. Flashing on yesteryear is not where it’s at Dave. Are they thinking that the runaway generation is just like this one?

    Gravy for the brain Dave.

    Reply
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