By Lethbridge Herald on August 5, 2021.
A pair of Independent MLAs are questioning Premier Jason Kenney’s commitment to this October’s equalization referendum.
The referendum is slated to held Oct. 18, in conjunction with Municipal and Senate elections.
“The Premier’s failure to stand up for our province is nothing new, but now his inaction on implementing his own Bill 32 threatens to impact in the equalization campaign,” said MLA Drew Barnes.
“We are on record in full support of this referendum, and we advocate using every tool at our disposal to fight for a fair deal from Ottawa. We just think the Premier should do the same,” added MLA Todd Loewen.
A key commitment of the United Conservative Party’s 2019 election platform was to, “Protect workers from being forced to fund political parties and causes without explicit opt-in approval.”
Changes to this effect were included in Bill 32, the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act. The Assembly approved third reading of Bill 32 nearly one year ago on July 28, 2020.
However, the government has yet to enact several portions of this legislation, including the opt-in provision promised by the UCP.
“For far too long, union members have been forced to fund political advertising for candidates and causes they personally oppose. That’s fundamentally unfair. Premier Kenney promised to fix it, but he hasn’t followed through on his commitment,” said Loewen.
As a direct result, many union members may find themselves unwilling donors to various campaigns in the lead up to the fall’s equalization referendum, said Barnes.
“On Bill 32 the Legislature has taken a clear position. By delaying full implementation, the Premier is standing against the democratically expressed wishes of the people. There is no excuse. Either you respect the will of the Assembly, or you don’t.”
Both MLAs share concerns that the Premier is entirely focussed on his own personal political issues rather than standing up for Albertans.