November 21, 2019 •
Alberta’s Independent Election Commissioner To Be Terminated
Upon Royal Assent from Alberta’s lieutenant-governor, the province will officially eliminate the office of the independent Alberta Election Commissioner. The move makes the commissioner a staff position under the Chief Electoral Officer.
Bill 22, Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions and Government Enterprises Act, 2019, passed on November 21. The bill also terminates the current election commissioner, Lorne Gibson, from his position.
Gibson, in his role as commissioner, has fined the members of the majority United Conservative Party government more than $200,000 for election violations.
The election commissioner’s staff will transfer to work for the office of the chief electoral officer, who will then hire a new commissioner.
The bill passed even though the province’s Ethics Commissioner, Margueritte Trussler, issued an opinion stating the individual MLAs who are in the process of being investigated by the Election Commissioner would be in breach of the Conflicts of Interest Act if they were to vote on the bill.
The breach would exist because those MLAs stand to materially benefit from the termination of the Office of the Election Commissioner.
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