Caucus Discipline

November 23, 2010

Mrs. Forsyth: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday was another black mark on Alberta’s already tarnished reputation as a leader in democratic values. The Premier proved once again that he has no use for MLAs who do what they are supposed to, represent the issues and concerns of the constituents who elected them. Those who dare to step out of line and tell the truth about issues that matter to Albertans are met with swift punishment from the Premier, who obviously prefers to have a caucus of loyalists who protect his interests than a caucus of advocates who fight on behalf of Albertans.

The Member for Edmonton-Meadowlark found out first-hand what happens to MLAs who commit the representing Albertans first, as did previously the Member for Fort unforgivable sin of McMurray-Wood Buffalo.

The message from the Premier to his elected MLAs is clear: fall in line, and keep your mouth shut. Mr. Speaker, I can honestly say that that is why myself and the Member for Airdrie-Chestermere are on this side of this House and not on that side. Over there the views of constituents take a back seat to the Premier’s agenda, and if what your constituents want conflicts with what the Premier wants, you know who you answer to first.

This type of backward accountability continues to drive the wedge between everyday Albertans and the democratic process. We’re in the middle of an emergency room crisis, and the government just fired its own emergency room doctor. Strict caucus discipline and heavy-handed leadership by the Premier have cost Albertans precisely the kind of honest and candid input that is needed right now. The bottom line is this. When it comes to democracy, this government and this Premier have failed Albertans time and time again.

Tomorrow our leader in caucus will announce the Wildrose plan to restore our democracy, to give Alberta back to Albertans. The Premier and this government have been slowly chipping away at the values and principles of democracy for years.