Premier Prentice promises new Accountability Act

Watch above: The premier admits his party has work to do to restore public trust. Tom Vernon has more from his announcement.

EDMONTON – Premier Jim Prentice has announced the government has started work on a new Accountability Act to end the “culture of entitlement.”

The premier says the act, which will be introduced in the fall sitting of the Legislature, will create the highest ethical standards.

“Anyone who wishes to be part of this government moving forward and anyone who wishes to be part of my team will be held to the highest possible standards of public service.”

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Prentice says the legislation will including eliminating “sweet heart” severance packages for political staff, strengthen conflict-of-interest guidelines for staff, and enforce the distinction between registered lobbyists and government consultants.

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“People will need to make a choice between working on behalf of others to influence government on the one hand, or on the other hand working directly for the citizens of Alberta,” says Prentice.

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The premier also says the act will enforce that all contracts will be through a competitive bid process, or a selection will be made from a prequalified vendor list in extreme circumstances.

Prentice says he’ll look for input from a number of parties including the ethics commissioner, the legislative assembly, and the opposition parties.

NDP Leader Brian Mason argues the premier is simply doing what the opposition parties have been proposing for a long time.

“Mr. Prentice has spent his first two weeks catching up to the NDP, and I think he’s demonstrated a tremendous grasp of the obvious.”

Mason adds Prentice made several “patronage” appointments before announcing the Accountability Act.

“Jay Hill was a lobbyist in Alberta until midway through the Progressive Conservative leadership campaign. He remains a lobbyist in British Columbia.”

Hill was appointed by Prentice as a senior representative to Saskatchewan, B.C., the North and to the New West Partnership after the two served together in the federal government.

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The premier┬ásays he’ll be making a similar announcement in the coming days in respect to agencies, boards, and commissions.

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