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Two provincial governments getting away with ignoring fundamentals of law

Ron Walters writes about government actions in Saskatchewan and Alberta
Trading Thoughts by Ron Walter

Two actions by two provincial governments show a disregard for the fundamental rule of law principle that is the foundation of our democracy.

One of the actions was governing Alberta United Conservative Party’s legislation to abolish the Alberta election commissioner’s job and office to supposedly save $1 million.

Premier Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party loudly denied accusations that abolishing the job had anything to do with the work being done by the commissioner.

The commissioner had been investigating the 2017 party leadership race won by Kenney.

Under investigation were allegations that online voting was irregular and abused by Kenney operatives who obtained online passwords of party members and voted for them.

In addition, the Kenney government prevented publication of names of people from his campaign already fined in the investigation.

This case of flaunting the law should not be tolerated. In what world would we allow the accused to fire the police and quash the investigation into their alleged crime?

The other flaunting of law matter came under the spotlight in the Saskatchewan provincial auditor’s fall report on the state of government.

The auditor investigated the controversial matter where construction of commercial buildings was allowed in Wascana Park, the park surrounding the Legislature in Regina.

The provincial government, unsuccessful in an attempt to have the Wascana Authority approve the development, placed the park under the Provincial Capital Commission.

Stacked with government members the commission approved development of two commercial buildings — Conexus Credit Union  and the Brandt Industries headquarters.

The justification — both building owners financially supported existing park operations — the McKenzie Art Gallery and the CNIB.

Protests followed and the government halted construction of the Brandt building until the auditor had completed an investigation.

Auditor Judy Ferguson came to one conclusion: the government “cannot show that it complied with the provisions of the Provincial Capital Commission Act.”

Nor had the government established the public consultation process expected by the public.

The government action amounted to an outright flaunting of the law — another blow to the rule of law that is so fundamental to our system of democracy and justice.

Hopefully, the weak Opposition will keep this issue alive.

If these two provinces had laws allowing impeachment, these actions would serve as the basis for impeachment proceedings.

Yet most voters in both provinces seem apathetic to the issue.

Ron Walter can be reached at

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.  

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