The Wildrose Party wants the Speaker of Alberta’s Legislative Assembly to get involved in a decision about the impartiality of the chair of the Special Standing Committee on Ethics and Accountability. It’s the committee making changes to rules concerning Alberta elections and election funding.
Opposition MLA’s are accusing committee chair Jessica Littlewood, who is the NDP MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, of not being impartial in her role. They say she always sides with the NDP on tied votes.
Wildrose’s Jason Nixon says Littlewood’s impartiality can’t be decided by the committee itself. “It seems to me the simplest thing to do would be to take this to the Speaker and get this all sorted out – for committee members and for Albertans.”
Monday during an ethics committee meeting, Littlewood stepped aside as chair, calling on her deputy chair Heather Sweet, also an NDP MLA, to fill in on a temporary basis. “The capability for the committee to continue functioning seemed at risk, so it seemed like it would be best for me to put Ms. Sweet into the chair role.”
Asked if she would return as chair, Littlewood said, “I think the committee needs to discuss what is at issue here.”
The PC’s say this could have ramifications on other committees. “I have serious concerns on the function of NDP committee chairs and how they complete their duties,” according to Richard Starke, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster. “Any chair attempting to influence committee members by sharing partisan information is no longer neutral and must step down.” (eb)