Wildrose to table amendment to toughen up conflict of interest rules in Alberta

Wildrose Justice Critic Shayne Saskiw



EDMONTON - In an effort to tighten up the Conflict of Interest Act, Alberta's Wildrose Party will submit several recommendations to the Tory-dominated committee Monday.

"We would hope that regardless of political stripe, all members would want to strengthen conflict laws to ensure the integrity of our public office," said Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw.

The Wildrose recommendations would empower the province's ethics commissioner to initiate investigations, clarify financial disclosure and how investigations are reported.

The new rules would broaden the definition of conflicts of interest to include relatives and friends among an MLA's associates.

It would also toughen cooling-off guidelines and extend them from six to 12 months.

Saskiw said the recommendations will include a clause for scandals that could reach high into the upper echelons of government; an independent investigator from outside the province would be brought in.

"We have seen this premier award patronage appointments to failed government ministers and fail to tell the truth about her blatant conflict of interest in the rewarding of a $10-billion tobacco litigation lawsuit," Saskiw said.

"We know Redford has little interest in taking aim at the 41-year-old culture of entitlement embedded with this PC government, but Albertans can be assured that the Wildrose is committed to running a clean, ethical and accountable government that plays by the rules."

Ethics Commissioner Neil Wilkinson presented his recommendation for enhanced online disclosure among other adjustments to the act.

The committee will meet again after the spring session starts March 5.

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