Alberta Premier Jim Prentice announced when he won the leadership of the PC Party in September that he would be introducing an Accountability Act to guide the government of Alberta in the future.
“One of my first commitments as premier was that government would take concrete action to end entitlements and rebuild public trust. Today, our government has delivered, with strong legislation that will restore Albertans’ confidence in the integrity and accountability of government,” Prentice said in a press release.
Monday afternoon, Government House Leader Johnathan Denis unveiled the long awaited Bill 2, the Alberta Accountability Act.
In the new act, Denis said in a press conference, “The new rules government is putting in place will provide clear and consistent direction for those who have the privilege of working for Albertans. They will ensure that the highest standards are met, and that government is fully accountable to Albertans.”
The new Accountability Act will extended cooling off periods from six to 12 months for former deputy ministers, senior officials and premier’s and ministers’ staff; revised and clarified post-employment restrictions; enhanced accountability of senior officials; clarified rules regarding gifts and benefits accepted by MLAs; clarified rules around the acceptance and public disclosure of noncommercial travel; and more.
Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke said Tuesday morning, that this Accountability Act was a top priority for the premier.
“This act is the premier delivering on the indications that he made to the voters,” he said.
Starke said that this bill will help restore the trust in the government with the people of Alberta.
“Not only in the elected officials but also the government in general,” he said.
“This is a product of (the premier’s) effort.”
Also under the new Accountability Act, the government will be restricting severance packages for political staff and political staff will be entitled to a severance payment of three months of salary if they have been with their employee for less than one year.
If the political staff members have been employed for more than one year, they are entitled to three months of salary plus one additional month of salary for each year of service, up to a maximum of six months of salary.
This bill comes months after the Canadian Taxpayers Federation: Alberta Division, released calculations on former premier Alison Redford’s top staff members in her office.
Redford’s chief of staff Farouk Adatia and communications director Stefan Baranski, received six-figure severance packages.
Based on Baranski’s 2013 earnings, $231,000 in salary and cash benefits, he will be eligible for a severance package of $103,914, according to the CTF’s calculations.
Adatia made $357,000 in salary, which means he would of been eligible for a severance package of $316,274.