November 21, 2019 •

Alberta’s Independent Election Commissioner To Be Terminated

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Alberta Legislature Building - Timorose

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 […]

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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November 8, 2019 •

Recall Bill in Alberta Legislature

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Alberta Legislature Building - Timorose

On November 6, a bill to allow recall elections of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) was reported to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Bill 204, the Election Recall Act, allows constituents to petition for the recall of an MLA […]

On November 6, a bill to allow recall elections of Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) was reported to the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

Bill 204, the Election Recall Act, allows constituents to petition for the recall of an MLA if 40 percent of eligible voters sign the petition within a 60-day window.

A petition would not be permitted six months before or 18 months after a general election.

The legislation is a private bill introduced by MLA Mark Smith in October.

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June 14, 2018 •

Amendments to Alberta’s Lobbying Law Take Effect

On June 11, several significant amendments to Alberta’s provincial lobbying law took effect when the Lobbyists Amendment Act, 2018, came into force by Royal Assent. The most substantial change in the existing Lobbyist Act is the reduction of an organizational […]

On June 11, several significant amendments to Alberta’s provincial lobbying law took effect when the Lobbyists Amendment Act, 2018, came into force by Royal Assent. The most substantial change in the existing Lobbyist Act is the reduction of an organizational lobbyist’s time threshold from 100 hours annually to 50 hours annually.

For the purposes of determining whether lobbying amounts to 50 hours annually, time spent lobbying includes time spent preparing for communication and communicating with a public office holder. Contingency lobbying is now prohibited under the Act.

Another change to the law amends the definition of lobbying to statutorily include grassroots communication as a form of regulated lobbying requiring registration. Grassroots communication does not include communication between an organization and its members, officers or employees or between a person or partnership and its shareholders, partners, officers or employees.

A lobbyist gift ban has been enacted and reads as follows, “Lobbyists are prohibited from giving or promising any gift, favor or other benefit to the public office holder being, or intended to be, lobbied that the public office holder is prohibited from accepting or that, if given, would place the public office holder in a conflict of interest.”

An additional exemption to the requirement of registering as a lobbyist was added for individuals who are recognized as elders by their aboriginal community.

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April 12, 2018 •

Lobbyists Amendment Act, 2018 Introduced in Alberta Legislative Assembly

On April 11, a bill was introduced in the Alberta Legislative Assembly to amend the providence’s lobbying laws. Bill 11, Lobbyists Amendment Act, 2018, lowers the threshold required for lobbyist registration from 100 hours per year spent lobbying to 50 […]

On April 11, a bill was introduced in the Alberta Legislative Assembly to amend the providence’s lobbying laws. Bill 11, Lobbyists Amendment Act, 2018, lowers the threshold required for lobbyist registration from 100 hours per year spent lobbying to 50 hours. The proposed amendments also ban contingency lobbying but allow a consultant lobbyist who has entered into a contingency agreement before the law takes effect to received contingency payments until either the agreement expires or 24 months after the bill takes effect, whichever is earlier.

The legislation would also prohibit a consultant lobbyist or organizational lobbyist, during lobbying activities, to give any gift to a public office holder, being or intended to be lobbied, that would place the public office holder in a conflict of interest under the office holder’s own ethics rules.

Authority for additional administrative financial penalties for contraventions of the lobbying laws are included in the bill. The amount of an administrative penalty is determined by the registrar, who considers factors such as the severity of the contravention, the degree of willfulness or negligence in the contravention, any history of non-compliance, and whether the person who received the notice of administrative penalty has received an economic benefit because of the contravention.

Additionally, the bill creates new definitions for “public office holder” and “former public officer holder.”

The bill is being sponsored by MLA Christina Gray, who represents the provincial election district for Edmonton-Mill Woods.

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November 27, 2017 •

Alberta By-Election on December 14

On December 14, a provincial by-election will be held for the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta (MLA) seat representing the Calgary-Lougheed electoral division. MLA Dave Rodney resigned from the Legislative Assembly earlier this fall to create a vacancy […]

On December 14, a provincial by-election will be held for the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta (MLA) seat representing the Calgary-Lougheed electoral division.

MLA Dave Rodney resigned from the Legislative Assembly earlier this fall to create a vacancy for Jason Kenney, the new United Conservative Party leader.

Kenney, in turn, is now currently running for that MLA seat. Advance voting at the polls begins on December 6.

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June 9, 2017 •

Legislative Assembly of Alberta Adjourned

On June 6, the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Canada, adjourned for the summer. Legislation passed during the 3rd Session of the 29th Legislature include Bill 8, entitled An Act to Strengthen Municipal Government and Bill 11, Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower […]

On June 6, the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Canada, adjourned for the summer.

Legislation passed during the 3rd Session of the 29th Legislature include Bill 8, entitled An Act to Strengthen Municipal Government and Bill 11, Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Amendment Act, 2017.

The Legislative Assembly is scheduled to reconvene on October 30, 2017, and to adjourn on December 7, 2017.

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December 2, 2016 •

Alberta Legislative Assembly Considers Amending Campaign Finance Limits

The NDP government in Alberta introduced legislation to limit what individuals can donate to political campaigns and limit the amount each party can spend during an election. Individuals would be limited to $4,000 in the aggregate per calendar year when […]

Flag of AlbertaThe NDP government in Alberta introduced legislation to limit what individuals can donate to political campaigns and limit the amount each party can spend during an election. Individuals would be limited to $4,000 in the aggregate per calendar year when giving to parties, constituency associations, candidates, leadership hopefuls, and nomination contests.

The proposals would also affect third-parties; such groups are similar to political action committees in the United States. Third-parties would only be permitted to spend $150,000 on advertisements each election period, with only $3,000 of those funds earmarked to support or oppose candidates. There would be no limits on third party spending outside of elections.

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September 13, 2016 •

NDP Criticized as it Attempts to Change Alberta’s Campaign Finance Limits

Opposition parties say legislative members in Alberta are attempting to rush through campaign finance changes to disproportionately benefit the New Democratic Party. NDP members have proposed a $4,000 annual limit on political contributions to political parties, constituency associations, nominated candidates, […]

edmontonOpposition parties say legislative members in Alberta are attempting to rush through campaign finance changes to disproportionately benefit the New Democratic Party.

NDP members have proposed a $4,000 annual limit on political contributions to political parties, constituency associations, nominated candidates, candidates seeking nomination, and party leadership contestants. Current limits are $15,000 to a political party and $5,000 to constituency associations, with the limits increasing to $30,000 and $10,000, respectively, in a campaign year.

Currently there are no set limits on political contributions for leadership and nomination campaigns; each party sets its own rules. Opposition members agree with reduced contribution limits, but argue limits in nomination races and leadership campaigns would reduce the available resources necessary for a party to effectively fight an election. The legislative committee examining the election financing legislation must complete its work before the committee is dissolved September 28.

Photo of the Alberta Legislative Building by Tkyle on Wikimedia Commons.

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August 1, 2016 •

New Alberta Lobbyist Registry Not Expected Until November

A new system is expected to replace Alberta’s outdated lobbyist registry as early as November. The current system moves slowly, is incompatible with certain internet browsers, and does not produce accurate search results. Lobbyists will need to create new accounts […]

Flag of AlbertaA new system is expected to replace Alberta’s outdated lobbyist registry as early as November. The current system moves slowly, is incompatible with certain internet browsers, and does not produce accurate search results.

Lobbyists will need to create new accounts and re-register when the new system opens, as data from the old registry will not be imported. Migrating existing lobbyist data over to the new system would have been more expensive.

Kent Ziegler, the Office of the Ethics Commissioner’s chief administrative officer, believes it is better to start from scratch to ensure accuracy.

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February 26, 2016 •

Chief Electoral Officer Sets Date for Alberta By-Election

Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer, Glen Resler, issued a writ to administer a by-election for the Calgary-Greenway electoral district to fill a seat in the Legislative Assembly. In the wake of the tragic passing of Progressive Conservative MLA Manmeet Bhullar last […]

Flag of AlbertaAlberta’s Chief Electoral Officer, Glen Resler, issued a writ to administer a by-election for the Calgary-Greenway electoral district to fill a seat in the Legislative Assembly. In the wake of the tragic passing of Progressive Conservative MLA Manmeet Bhullar last November, Alberta’s New Democratic Party (NDP) has set a March 22 election date.

Some other parties, which have yet to nominate candidates, are not pleased. They feel it is poor politics to rush to hold an election when the government has until May and not all parties have chosen their candidates.

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January 20, 2016 •

Spring and Fall Sitting Dates Announced for Legislative Assembly of Alberta

Alberta’s New Democratic Party has filed a calendar for the Second Session of the 29th Legislature and announced starting dates for the spring and fall sittings. The spring sitting will commence March 8 with a throne speech and is expected […]

Edmonton_legAlberta’s New Democratic Party has filed a calendar for the Second Session of the 29th Legislature and announced starting dates for the spring and fall sittings. The spring sitting will commence March 8 with a throne speech and is expected to run no longer than June 2. The fall sitting will begin on October 31 and end before December 1.

The spring or fall sitting of the Assembly may be shortened or extended by passage of a motion to be decided without debate or amendment. There is no word yet on when Finance Minister Joe Ceci will table the government’s budget.

Photo of Alberta’s Legislative Building in Edmonton by Tkyle on Wikimedia Commons.

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August 12, 2015 •

Six Candidates Running in Alberta By-election

A by-election for the riding of Calgary-Foothills will be held on September 3, 2015. Former Progressive Conservative Leader Jim Prentice vacated the seat when the New Democratic Party gained control of the Legislative Assembly in the May 5 provincial election. […]

Flag of AlbertaA by-election for the riding of Calgary-Foothills will be held on September 3, 2015.

Former Progressive Conservative Leader Jim Prentice vacated the seat when the New Democratic Party gained control of the Legislative Assembly in the May 5 provincial election.

There are six candidates competing in the election.

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June 25, 2015 •

Alberta New Democratic Party Passes Bill Banning Corporate and Union Donations to Political Parties

Corporations and labor unions will no longer be permitted to donate to political parties in Alberta. Bill 1 passed its third reading on Monday, June 22, and when signed into law, will be retroactively effective to June 15, the day […]

Flag of AlbertaCorporations and labor unions will no longer be permitted to donate to political parties in Alberta. Bill 1 passed its third reading on Monday, June 22, and when signed into law, will be retroactively effective to June 15, the day the bill was introduced in the house.

Proponents of the bill agree it puts power back in the hands of citizens rather than the entities with the deepest pockets. Critics, however, argue the bill has serious loopholes as it does not address the abilities of companies and unions to guarantee loans to parties or to donate services.

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April 8, 2015 •

Writ Issued for Provincial General Election in Alberta

Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler confirms writs were delivered today to administer elections across Alberta. Although Alberta has a fixed election set for spring 2016, Lt. Gov. Donald Ethell agreed to dissolve the Legislative Assembly at the premier’s request. Candidate […]

Flag of AlbertaChief Electoral Officer Glen Resler confirms writs were delivered today to administer elections across Alberta. Although Alberta has a fixed election set for spring 2016, Lt. Gov. Donald Ethell agreed to dissolve the Legislative Assembly at the premier’s request.

Candidate nominations for the 29th provincial general election begin today and end at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, April 17. Polling day is scheduled for Tuesday, May 5, 2015.

The 2011 Election Amendment Act requires elections to be held in the fourth calendar year after the preceding election. However, this law does not affect the powers of the lieutenant governor to dissolve the Legislature before the four years has expired.

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