1) Establish an independent commission with binding powers to set MLA pay, benefits and bonuses.
2) Make all MLA expenses and compensation publicly available online.
3) Lengthen and strengthen cooling off periods to prevent senior civil servants from flip-flopping between high-level public and private sector jobs.
4) Strengthen the Lobbyist Act.
5) Strengthen the power of Officers of the Legislative Assembly.
6) Reduce power of the Premier’s Office.
7) Protect whistleblowers.
8 ) Ban all corporate and union political party donations.
9) Lower election donation limits for individuals.
10) Reform elections.
11) Increase ministerial accountability
12) Establish fixed election dates.
Most of these ideas are not new, and many of these policies have also be found in the manifestos of the New Democrats, the Wildrose Alliance, and the Conservative Party of Canada, but I believe that the Liberals have done a good job packaging them.
Not surprisingly, the most controversial proposal is included in step 10, which proposes offers tax credits of $50 per election to Albertans who vote. I do not necessarily agree that monetary incentives would be the best way to increase meaningful engagement in our electoral system, but could does help spark the debate about creating incentives to vote – a debate that the governing Progressive Conservative Party appears reluctant to participate in.
I also noticed that while releasing this policy package, Liberal leader David Swann has spruced up his wardrobe, abandoning the older worn suit for a more crisp and professional looking image. I get the distinct feeling that recent changes inside the Official Opposition caucus may have allowed Dr. Swann more time to focus on other things, like improving his and his party’s image.