Yes I will come right out and call Stelmach a liar now as I am seeing more detail on his prior statements regarding fixed election dates.
The Calgary Herald has been kind enough to point out Special Ed’s flip-flop in an article today.
At last year’s Tory party convention, the premier vowed he would adopt fixed election dates if party members approved the measure in a resolution. “I’ll live by whatever the party decides,” the premier told the Herald at the time.
Conservative members voted for fixed election dates at their 2006 convention, approving a resolution from the Battle River-Wainwright constituency association. This issue came up again in the spring legislature, when Edmonton-area Tory MLA Ken Allred proposed fixed election dates in an unsuccessful private member’s bill.
Henry Czarnota, president of the Battle River-Wainwright Tory association when it proposed fixed election dates, said Wednesday it would be a “disappointment” if the Stelmach government doesn’t adopt fixed voting days.
“We feel that it’s in the best interests of democracy if people know when there is going to be a date,” Czarnota said, “and, therefore, we don’t have any gamesmanship.”
Ummmm, hey Ed, is not a party resolution supporting fixed election dates sort of an indication that the party supports fixed election dates?
Some PC tactics have not changed since Klein. Klein used to always speak in support of bringing in a law for citizen initiated referendums in Alberta. Then the PCs would present a private members bill for such a law, find what they feel is an error in the bill, and vote down their own bill. That was done multiple times with direct democracy bills and it looks like they will do the same with fixed election dates.
To begin with, if Stelmach had any interest in real debate on this issue, it would be a government bill not a private members bill.
In reading the Hansard, I have seen that all of the opposition members and some government members were very supportive of the bill for fixed election dates when it was introduced.
The attitude of the members certainly changed by second reading. It looks like somebody laid down the law and told the PC members to get this bill out of there. Suddenly the PC members were all rising and speaking against fixed election dates. Most of the members fell back on the old canard of saying such a move would Americanize our system.
After attacking the bill, a hoist amendment was proposed and accepted by the house. A hoist amendment is a parliamentary trick where the government can reject a bill without appearing to actually vote it down. The bill then gets deferred to the next session for second reading if indeed it is ever seen again. It is a cowardly abuse of legislative power and the PCs used it and supported it in lock-step (including the member who put the bill on the floor in the first place).
As I said before and as I will say again, one of the leading causes of the growing cynical apathy in the electorate is the chronic lying on the part of elected officials. How long will people continue to participate in the process when they are continually told one thing and seeing another?
Ed Stelmach clearly does not even respect the wishes of his own party, much less the wishes of the electorate.
While I don’t see such dishonesty inspiring more people to vote, I do hope it does inspire more of those who do vote to reject these liars in future elections. The only cure for lying politicians is to have them take it on the nose in elections. Unfortunately Albertans (and Canadians for that matter) have proven to be willing to re-elect liars. I still hold out hope that this trend can be changed.