Last week, the NDP MLA for West Yellowhead published a column attacking United Conservative members of the Legislature’s Resource Stewardship Committee for voting against an NDP motion regarding Alberta’s Property Rights Advocate. As usual, the NDP isn’t giving you the full story.
The motion introduced by MLA Eric Rosendahl, and pushed through by the committee’s NDP majority, will have an internal government committee assess options to bring “fairness and equity” to the property rights disputes settlement process. On the surface, this may seem reasonable but a closer look reveals several fundamental problems.
First, the Property Rights Advocate was created in 2012 specifically to bring fairness and equity to the dispute settlement process. Our position is that further improvements to this process or to the Property Rights Advocate Office should be conducted by an all-party committee of the Legislature in tandem with a review of the Property Rights Advocate Act, which is what UCP MLA Wayne Drysdale proposed prior to the introduction of Rosendahl’s motion.
In his column, Rosendahl conveniently failed to mention this, along with the fact that the NDP majority on the committee defeated Drysdale’s motion and introduced their own that will have the review conducted internally – again by government bureaucrats behind closed doors – and refusing to attach a timeline for completion.
We take issue with the idea that these discussions should be internal to government, and take place behind closed doors with minimal, if any, input from the public. The NDP has an established track record of failing to adequately consult with Albertans before implementing policies that directly affect them. Albertans are growing tired of being told by this government what’s best for them, often long after critical decisions has been made. Examples of this arrogant behaviour include the imposition of the carbon tax and the Bill 6 debacle, just to name a few.
Time and again, this NDP government has thwarted attempts by the UCP and other opposition MLAs to force transparency and accountability when it comes to government decision-making. They know that their ideological agenda won’t hold up to public scrutiny so instead, they use their majority in the Legislature and on all-party committees to hide the truth from Albertans. This is shameful behaviour and we won’t stand for it – and neither should Albertans.
The United Conservative Party was founded on, among other things, a fundamental respect for property rights and to suggest otherwise is simply false. This commitment is enshrined in our Unity Agreement in Principle, and our caucus members have worked tirelessly to ensure that the right of all Albertans to freely own, enjoy and exchange property are protected. Albertans can rest assured that our commitment will not waiver and that we will continue working hard on their behalf.
Rick Strankman is the UCP MLA for Drumheller-Stettler and Wayne Drysdale is the UCP MLA for Grande Prairie-Wapiti.