Election officer contradicts government position on secrecy

Election officer contradicts government position on secrecy by Don Braid, May 30, 2012, Calgary Herald
Premier Alison Redford wants her government to be more transparent, accountable, etc. – all those dandy buzzwords. The goal is laudable, but it’s a long way over the horizon. The PC penchant for privacy erupted in the legislature Tuesday, with Wildrose demanding details of 28 organizations already fined for making illegal political donations. The PC ministers on duty said no. They even shifted the onus to the previous chief electoral officer, Lorne Gibson, saying he asked in 2008 that names be kept secret. … Late Tuesday, elections office spokesman Drew Westwater said the 2008 request was only for the privacy of investigations, not of results or penalties. “We were only referring to the investigation phase,” he said. “We did not go further than that.” He confirmed there was never the intention to block release of details about offenses. Gibson himself, asked by email if it’s true that he did not want penalties and offenders to remain secret, replied: “You are correct in your assumption.” Those comments shatter the PCs defence for hiding the names of those who broke the law while donating to them. … Really, how can secrecy be justified in a matter like this? We’re talking about funny business at the very heart of democracy – political contributions made outside the rules to the government party. Twenty-eight cases are proven, according to the current chief electoral officer, Brian Fjeldheim. Each resulted in “the application of an administrative penalty to a prohibited corporation.” What penalties, though? What corporations?

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