Alberta election watchdog to continue naming people sanctioned for wrongdoing

Glen Resler takes over, after predecessor fined UCP members for fundraising violations and got fired

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at the Rural Municipalities of Alberta conference in Edmonton Alta, on Friday November 15, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Alberta’s chief electoral officer has reversed course and will be posting the names of people and organizations fined or sanctioned for breaking elections laws.

The news comes a day after the Globe and Mail reported that chief electoral officer Glen Resler, following past practice, would not be naming violators as he takes over the files and responsibilities of fired election commissioner Lorne Gibson.

“In our review of this matter, we have determined that for all investigations disclosure will include all components found in the former election commissioner’s disclosure, including the names of individuals,” Pamela Renwick, spokeswoman for Resler, said in a statement Thursday.

Renwick said the office will be reposting findings and decisions made by Gibson and will continue doing so in future cases.

“All investigations staff are continuing in their roles and investigation work is continuing uninterrupted,” wrote Renwick.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said it’s good news that the names and sanctions will still be released, but added it speaks to a broader concern as Resler takes over Gibson’s job.

The United Conservative Party government passed legislation last week that fired Gibson and moved his staff to Resler’s office.

The NDP have argued that Premier Jason Kenney abused power in firing Gibson, who was investigating the UCP and had levelled more than $200,000 in fines to party members for fundraising violations tied to the 2017 leadership race won by Kenney.

Notley said the reason her NDP government created a dedicated elections investigator in 2018 was because it’s difficult for any quasi-judicial body, such as the chief electoral officer, to focus on advising, facilitating and administering rules while simultaneously trying to investigate and sanction.

That problem is compounded in the modern age, she said, as schemes to skirt election rules become more widespread and sophisticated.

“When you’re a facilitator and adviser it becomes very difficult to then become an investigator and enforcer,” said Notley.

That dual mindset was reflected in the chief electoral officer previously not naming rule violators, she added.

“It’s evidence of a culture that, separate and apart from anything else, could likely temper the vigilance and the tenacity of investigators and enforcement players within the (reunited) chief electoral office.”

Notley also suggested that Gibson’s firing is having a chilling effect on investigators.

Gibson’s dismissal was part of an omnibus bill on reforming agencies, boards and commissions. The bill moved his job and five staff positions to Resler’s office, but specified that Gibson’s contract would be terminated.

The bill was introduced, debated and signed into law at breakneck speed while Kenney was on a trade mission in Texas.

Kenney has said the bill was apolitical. He noted that all investigations are continuing and that splitting the two positions was inefficient and a waste of money.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

The Our Lady of the Rosary Women’s Auxilliary held their annual cookie walk Dec. 8th

In addition to the cookies, there was a craft area for the kids, face painting and Santa Claus visited as well

The local Bantam Girls 3C team recently attended a tournament in Okotoks

There were all ages attending to support female hockey

The final Castor Farmers Market of 2019 took place on Dec. 5th

The Castor Farmers Market will be taking a couple months off before returning in March

Alberta RCMP prepares for National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day and shares safety tips

National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day is a nationwide RCMP initiative taking place Dec.7th

Lacombe’s AFSC ready to help Alberta producers facing difficult times

2019 season not easy for Alberta producers due toweather and other challenges

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Teen seriously injured: Police in Lethbridge, Alta., charge 5 people in swarming

Police say a 16-year-old boy made arrangements to meet with a young woman before he was attacked

PODCAST: The Expert welcomes AA Lacombe General Jared Williams

Lacombe resident joined Red Deer Advocate Sports Reporter Byron Hackett and Host Todd Vaughan

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Online ‘direct threats’ lead to cancellation of school dance in Blackfalds

Threats resulted from Grade 4 social studies class discussing energy sector

Blackfalds RCMP warn of poor driving conditions on QEII

Vehicles have been involved in collisions and are in the ditch

Would you leave your baby alone to go to the gym? This Canadian dad did

The man identifies just as a divorced dad with a nine-month-old baby

Lawyer competence includes knowledge of Indigenous-Crown history: B.C. law society

All practising lawyers in B.C. will be required to take a six-hour online course covering these areas

Wealth of Canadians divided along racial lines, says report on income inequality

One interesting finding was that racialized men have a higher employment rate than non-racialized men

Most Read