By Cole Parkinson
NDP and independent MLAs are claiming the UCP and Premier Jason Kenney used their majority to move a motion to “censure the premier for his failed leadership leading up to and through the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic” to the bottom of the Order Paper.
They claim they were looking to “run out the clock and prevent the motion from being debated.”
The NDP specifically called out Cardston-Siksika MLA Joseph Schow.
“Joseph Schow, MLA for Cardston-Siksika, who recently got a $12,000 raise from Jason Kenney, was sent to quash the censure motion by sending it to the bottom of the order paper. Thirty-nine UCP MLAs came into the chamber to vote with Schow,” reads a statement in the NDP media release.
Schow said the focus of the government continues to be post-COVID recovery.
“Our government is focused on bringing investment back to Alberta and getting people back to work, not wasting time on political stunts orchestrated by the NDP. Alberta’s economy is coming back strong thanks to significant investment in the province, including a billion dollars for irrigation in the south, and we are working tirelessly to ensure that continues,” he said in a statement sent to the Vauxhall Advance.
Calgary-McCall MLA Irfan Sabir, who made the motion, was highly critical of the UCP government.
“It’s clear Jason Kenney knew that some members of his government caucus were prepared to censure him for his deadly failure of leadership in the fourth wave,” said Sabir in the release. “Instead of defending his position or taking responsibility for his actions, he ran away. This is the cowardice Albertans have come to expect from Jason Kenney and the UCP.”
He also took aim at UCP MLAs.
“This proves that all UCP MLAs are complicit in the deadly failure of the Kenney government to respond to the fourth wave. The danger was obvious to all Albertans in August and Jason Kenney did nothing in response. His cabinet ministers did nothing in response, and the UCP caucus did nothing in response,“ he said.
Independent MLA and former UCP member Todd Loewen also voiced his opinion the motion was moved to the bottom.
“Private Members’ motions and bills are one of the few ways that MLAs can effectively skirt the partisanship of our political system to bring issues before the Assembly on behalf of their constituents,” he said in a media release. “That Jason Kenney would allow the private member’s business process to be halted in a way that protects his own self-interest tells you everything you need to know about his respect for our democratic traditions and institutions.”
He also claimed this was not the first time the UCP government “subverted Private Members’ business for partisan purposes.”
“When it comes to Private Members’ Bills, we have seen this government use every trick in the book to delay and avoid debating any legislation that it finds inconvenient, from burying it in committee to borderline filibuster tactics,” he continued. “The frustrating part is that these topics matter, both to local constituents and to folks across the province. By preventing MLAs from bringing these matters forward for a full debate, the Premier is handcuffing our Assembly’s ability to represent Albertans.”
“The UCP is poised to hold an Annual General Meeting, where no new motions can come to the floor via members, only Kenney can bring forward new motions. Now it seems the Premier thinks he can impose the same limits on debate at the Legislature. This is not acceptable to Albertans of any political tradition, especially conservatives,” added Loewen.