Alberta Politics

update: municipal by-elections in rimbey and beiseker.

Two quick updates to the list of municipal by-elections being held across Alberta over the summer months.

Joe Anglin Wildrose Alberta Rocky Mountain House - Sundre
Joe Anglin

Wayne Clark and Scott Ellis are contesting a by-election in the Town of Rimbey on July 9 to replace former Councillor Joe Anglin. Mr. Anglin became the Wildrose MLA for Sundre-Rocky Mountain House-Rimbey after defeating six-term Progressive Conservative MLA Ty Lund in the recent provincial election.

Mr. Clark served on town council until the 2010 election, when he and other incumbent councillors were involved in a controversy over financial reimbursements for attending numerous community events, including gold tournaments and bingo fundraisers. The entire incumbent council and mayor were defeated in that election.

Mr. Ellis is a member of the town’s municipal development plan committee and has been active with the local Conservative Party of Canada electoral district association.

The Village of Beiseker will be holding a by-election to fill a vacancy on village council on July 23 to replace former Mayor Bruce Rowe. Mr. Rowe was elected as the Wildrose MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills in the recent provincial election. Councillor Ray Courtman was selected by his fellow councillors to become the new Mayor last month. The deadline for nominations is June 25, 2012.

Alberta Politics

ken kowalski’s institutional micro-management.

The Office of Speaker Ken Kowalski launched their latest institutional offensive in their ongoing campaign against Wildrose Alliance. A series of letters from Legislative Clerk David McNeil were sent to the tiny conservative caucus demanding that because their leader is not an MLA, that they immediately stop mentioning her name in their press releases. This kind level micro-management by the Speaker’s Office is unprecedented.

Legislative Financial Services Director Scott Ellis sent letters to Wildrose MLAs demanding that they and their staff avoid political party interests in their caucus activities, effectively asking them to be non-partisan partisans. The following letter and attachments from Mr. Ellis to Airdrie-Chestermere MLA Rob Anderson effectively demands the removal of any mention of the word “Wildrose” from his constituency website:

Memo to Rob Anderson As much as I disagree with their policy and political agenda, I am having a difficult time not having a little sympathy for the Wildrose caucus on this issue. When I worked for the Alberta Liberal Party, I remember the frustration of the communications staff at the Official Opposition caucus when the Speaker’s Office would refuse funding material that was arbitrarily deemed “too red” or that the Leader’s name was displayed “too prominently.”

While the Speaker’s Office has a duty to insure that caucuses are not using the public funds allocated to them in overtly partisan ways, it is painting this gray area black. Legislative politics is inherently partisan to a certain degree, and while I believe the Wildrose MLAs may be edging near the line of inappropriate usage, it is clear that Speaker Kowalski’s Office is continuing to target them for political and, ironically, partisan reasons.

UPDATE: Former Assembly Speakers David Carter and Stan Schumacher have spoken out, saying that they are alarmed by recent rulings from Speaker Kowalski and his office.