The Alberta wing of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling on the provincial government to introduce recall legislation after new allegations have been brought forward that former premier Alison Redford improperly milked taxpayers for flights she took by herself.
Derek Fildebrandt, the director of the Alberta CTF, it’s time for the province to follow the British Columbia government and introduce recall legislation.
“CTF has always supported recall legislation in all provinces across the country, but Alison Redford has made the need for recall legislation better than we ever could,” he said.
“She has also made it urgent right now. She is the poster child for the want and need for us, as taxpayers, to hold our politicians to account more than once every four years.”
Redford, the MLA for Calgary- Elbow, did resign on Wednesday.
Fildebrandt said the recall legislation should only be used in extreme cases.
“Constituents need to have the ability to fire their MLA,” he said. “When an employer hires an employee and that employee steals a car and drives it off a cliff, the employer has the right to terminate that employee early.”
Fildebrandt said that the former premier has driven the trust of the public off the cliff.
“The voters of Calgary-Elbow deserve the right to make that determination for themselves. If the voters in that riding believe that Alison Redford, in an extreme case, should be held to a byelection, it should be forced,” he said.
The CTF is pointing to B.C. and their recall legislation. Fildebrandt said that province’s legislation sets in place a very high bar for what is required to trigger a recall byelection.
“I don’t think it should be easy to call a byelection and I think that it should be used for extreme cases. Actually in B.C. there has never been a recall byelection triggered,” he said. “There was a close one but never a full recall election.”
The only time the recall legislation would of been used in B.C. was in 1998, when former MLA Paul Reitsma was accused of writing letters to newspapers and to his political opponents, under assumed names.
Reitsma resigned when it looked as though he would be heading to a recall byelection.
The B.C. law requires 40 per cent of voting electors in the riding to sign the petition to force a recall. Fildebrandt said that he would be in favour of that, but would lower the threshold for the percentage of voters needed.
“To get 40 per cent of the voting public in a riding, can chalk up to about 80 per cent of the people who actually cast votes in the previous election,” he added.
Fildebrandt said the only political party in favour of the recall legislation is the Wildrose Party.
“They are in favour of the recall legislation, but I know their threshold for the recall is somewhere at the 30 per cent range,” he added.
Fildebrandt said that somewhere between the 30-40 per cent would be idealistic for a proper recall legislation. You can find the petition, which has, according to Fildebrandt, garnered over 2,000 signatures since introduction on Friday, can be viewed online at www.taxpayer.com.