The Ethics and Accountability Committee was the setting for a rare political event. All opposition members, including PC’s, Wildrose, Liberals and the Alberta Party jointly stood against a pair of NDP proposals.
Wildrose MLA Jason Dixon explains what led to the unusual cooperation.
“The reason we were united is, it was pretty clear to us that the NDP were using their majority on the committee to attempt to change the rules of how our elections work, how our democracy works, to rig the process to benefit their party to the detriment of the other parties and I think all of us agree that’s not a partisan issue, that’s about protecting our democracy.”
The NDP proposals that were pushed through by the tie breaking vote of committee chair Jessica Littlewood include a motion to have those seeking a nomination inside of a party disclose financials and fund-raising numbers. The other motion was to end fundraising by Constituency Associations. Something Dixon says all parties except the NDP engage in.
“Even at the end of the day we were able to bring forward a motion that would still allow Constituency Associations to manage their own finances, but it would cap donations to the exact level that the NDP members of the committee have been proposing, and they still voted it down, which to me, at that point, confirmed there’s a little more to this than just trying to get donation levels down.”
Dixon says this move goes beyond the realm of cutting big money out of politics, an end goal that he says both the Wildrose and the NDP share.
“There’s something fundamentally wrong with Governments interfering with the management of political parties because this is a democracy and we want political parties to be able to function and be able to bring forward their message on behalf of the people they represent.”
The Wildrose say that fundraising efforts by their Constancy Associations account for one third of their fundraising totals with a sum of $500,000.00 in both 2012 and 2015.