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Elections Alberta provides update on Commissioner transition

Last Updated Nov 28, 2019 at 1:19 pm MDT


EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — Elections Alberta is promising there will not be any delays, but there is a transition period, as a result of the Election Commissioner being fired through the passage of Bill 22.

Elections Alberta is taking on all the responsibilities from the now-defunct commissioner’s office, which was tasked with handling numerous investigations — including the one into the UCP leadership scandal.

RELATED: Kenney defends decision to fire elections commissioner

“We know that there’s still the outstanding decision on the role of the election commissioner going forward, that will definitely take some time to sort out,” said spokesperson Pamela Renwick who explained there will be a transition period.

“We’re also looking at office space, where it makes sense for the staff, the investigators, to reside. There are some decisions that will take us quite a few months.”

Bill 22 reformed several boards around the province but garnered the majority of backlash due to abolishing the commissioner’s office.

The NDP accused the United Conservative Party of trying to cover up the leadership investigation, leading to leader Rachel Notley calling Premier Jason Kenney “undemocratic” and even getting removed from the Legislative Assembly due to accusations directed at Government House Leader Jason Nixon.

RELATED: ‘I will not apologize’: Notley booted from Legislature amid questions on Bill 22

Kenney responded to the allegations last week in Calgary, saying there is no cover-up and there should not be any interruptions to active investigations, something Renwick reaffirmed.

“We’re maintaining all budget totals related to the investigators and the investigations. We’re not looking for any pause on that. We want to be able to keep going on those investigations and get through any of the backlog that exists because of the election event.”

Elections Alberta is undergoing a transition period, and Thursday’s update detailed that it is continuing all investigative work with the same staff under the commissioner and documentation is being retained.

Some questions were also raised about the disclosure of findings, so Elections Alberta clarified that it will post the names of all people fined or reprimanded because of investigations.

Finally, Elections Alberta will present a budget request to the Standing Committee of Legislative Offices on Nov. 29, including asking for full funding to cover the continuation of all investigations and investigation positions.

Before Commissioner Lorne Gibson was fired when Bill 22 received royal assent on Friday, his office had levied over $200,000 in fines relating to the leadership scandal and accusations Jason Kenney’s campaign propped up so-called “kamikaze” candidate Jeff Calloway in order to discredit Brian Jean and secure the leadership for the premier.