tory backbenchers sat silently, then voted to gag the public accounts committee.

Don Braid has published an excellent column in today’s Calgary Herald on the decision by Wetaskiwin-Camrose MLA Verlyn Olson and six other PC MLAs to vote in favor of weakening the power of the Public Accounts Committee to be a financial watchdog.

As I wrote last week, the powers of the committee were curtailed when PC MLAs voted to create a new rule forcing Committee Chairman MLA Hugh MacDonald to have all future committee correspondence approved by Deputy Chair PC MLA Dave Rodney. When the issue was raised by opposition MLAs in Question Period, Premier Ed Stelmach, Education Minister Dave Hancock, and Deputy Premier Doug Horner have scoffed at the complaints, citing how powerless they are when it comes to influencing their backbench MLAs.

As shown in Hansard transcripts of the April 14 Public Accounts Committee meeting, Only Mr. Olson and Mr. Rodney  spoke in favor of the motion. Both Liberal Harry Chase and New Democrat Brian Mason spoke and voted against the motion. Not one of the five other PC MLAs at the meeting spoke to the motion. Edmonton PC MLAs David Xiao, Tony Vandermeer, Peter Sandhu, Doug Elniski, and Red Deer MLA Cal Dallas all sat silently until it was time to vote on Mr. Olson’s motion and they all voted in favor of it.

UPDATE: After significant public pressure, it appears that Mr. Olson might introduce a new motion to withdraw his original motion at tomorrow’s meeting of the Public Accounts Committee.

6 replies on “tory backbenchers sat silently, then voted to gag the public accounts committee.”

Glad to see Olsen withdrawing the motion even after all the trained seals voted for it. I would suspect he didn’t like being under so much public scrutiny, it is his first time involved in controversy (that I know of)

I had hoped that MLA Olson would prove himself to be a cut above the PC rank and file. It is discouraging to see that he seems to have proven the addage of water seeking the lowest level. We need a new way of governing, folks. One that is cleaner. One for Albertans.

Thanks for the comments. I will post an update tomorrow if Mr. Olson does indeed put forward the motion to withdraw his original motion. His original motion was embarrassing, but it became even more of an embarrassment when I found out that none of the five PC MLAs thought that this motion was important enough to speak to. It really makes me question the calibre of MLAs that the PC caucus is appointing to the important Public Accounts Committee.

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