RELEASE: FCP and Luff Statement on NDP-Tory Attack on Debate

Published on November 27, 2018

RELEASE: FCP and Luff Statement on NDP-Tory Attack on Debate 

EDMONTON, AB: Last night the NDP and Tories worked together to ban all other MLAs and parties from debating or amending their joint agreement to stack the legislature's committees. 

For the first time in Alberta’s history, the Official Opposition - rather than the Government - invoked debate closure, with the Tory House Leader using an extreme and rarely used form of closure (S.O. 49) to ban MLAs from debating or amending the motion without any notice. 

Also for the first time in Alberta history, closure was invoked without allowing for any debate to take place whatsoever. 

FCP Leader Derek Fildebrandt: This is a petty and extreme attempt by the NDP and Tories to work together to monopolize debate and power between the two of them. Never before in Alberta’s history have MLAs been banned from amending or even debating government business without allowing for a single word to be spoken first, and never before has the opposition done the government’s dirty work for them.

Independent MLA Robyn Luff: “This was shocking. For the UCP and NDP to work together to stop debate is undemocratic and wrong. This is an example of how much control the major parties have of the legislature, and how committed they are to silencing voices of independent thought, inside and outside of their caucuses.” 

Tory MLAs expressed their outrage at the NDP invoking of closure on bills and motions after weeks of debate had taken place. 

The last time this rarely used form of debate closure was used was on June 3, 2008 after extensive debate was already on the record. 

Brian Mason, June 3, 2008 “An act of political thuggery [that] has deprived at least two members on the opposition side of their right, should this pass, to speak to this bill…” Mason continued, "that it is heavy-handed, it is unnecessary, and it is evidence of this government's intent, come hell or high water, to ram this bill through this Legislature just as quickly as possible, with an absolute minimum of debate. I want to know why that is, why this government with its enormous majority feels that it has to act in such a high-handed and undemocratic way.” 

 

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