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Alberta gov’t in contempt over brochure advertising MLA pay freeze

EDMONTON — Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government has been found in contempt of the legislature.

Speaker Gene Zwozdesky (zwahz-DESS’-kee) has ruled that a brochure mailed out by the PC party breached parliamentary privilege.

He found that the brochure advertised a decision had been made on freezing MLA pay, when it hadn’t yet.

The speaker ordered an apology and deputy premier Thomas Lukaszuk (loo-KAH’-zuhk) complied Monday afternoon in the legislature.

But Opposition parties argue that an apology isn’t enough.

NDP Leader Brian Mason said he will ask the Speaker on Tuesday to consider allowing the matter to be referred to a special disciplinary committee.

Mason said the brochure was “clearly partisan advertising,” but added he was surprised by the Speaker’s actions.

“I’ve never seen a point of privilege be successful against the government in the past. I’ve been here now 13 years, and it’s the first time in my experience,” Mason said.

Wildrose Finance critic Rob Anderson said the Tories need to do more than apologize.

“Actions speak louder than words. They need to have the PC party pay back the tax payer for this gross use of tax dollars.”

While the Tories have not confirmed the total cost of the brochure, the Wildrose claims a similar one sent out by the Tories earlier this year cost $350,000 to mail out.

 
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