Speaker of Alberta legislature scolds staff for ‘unbecoming’ video recording

Click to play video: 'Prab Gill calls odd UCP video of him and NDP staffer an ‘attempt to intimidate’' Prab Gill calls odd UCP video of him and NDP staffer an ‘attempt to intimidate’
WATCH (Aired March 6): A UCP video showing government adviser Jeremy Nolais and Independent MLA Prab Gill leaving a room in the Federal Building has people talking. Albert Delitala spoke to a public relations expert on the strange nature of the video and what it says about the changing nature of politics – Mar 6, 2019

The Speaker of the Alberta Legislative Assembly sent out a memo to MLAs and caucus staff on Thursday making it clear he was not impressed with a UCP video that appears to have secretly recorded opponents.

“It has come to my attention that there are allegations of caucus staff video recording persons in the Edmonton Federal Building without their consent,” Bob Wanner wrote.

In a memo shared online, Wanner said this isn’t the first time he’s been made aware of “this type of activity.”

READ MORE: Prab Gill calls UCP video of NDP staffer and him an ‘attempt to intimidate’

“I take very seriously any allegations that would impair the ability of officials or members of the public to meet in confidence with a member of the legislative assembly in the member’s office,” the Speaker wrote.

Story continues below advertisement

He said the video doesn’t reflect well on MLAs and staff.

“I would urge all members and staff to be mindful of activities that could be construed as interfering with the ability of a member to fulfil his or her duties,” Wanner continued.

“This type of behaviour is unbecoming for those who work in the office of a member and is not in keeping with the dignity of the institution.”

Wanner thanked MLAs and staff for their “prompt attention to this matter.”

The video in question shows Prab Gill, an independent MLA, and Jeremy Nolais, who works in the premier’s office.

The 51-second video, posted by @UniteAlberta, is edited for dramatic effect. It has been shot in or converted to black and white and slowed down, with captions added.

The Unite Alberta account says it is the “official Twitter account for the office of Jason Kenney.” Kenney confirmed that his staff run the account, but he takes responsibility for the content posted to it.

However, Kenney said Tuesday afternoon that he hadn’t seen the video.

READ MORE: Twitter reacts to UCP-affiliated account posting NDP staff list

Gill said he was meeting with Nolais to discuss funding options for a school in his riding. The video suggested the meeting was about Gill joining the NDP ranks.

Story continues below advertisement

The video quickly amassed tens of thousands of views. Most comments called out the account. Some comments described as “weird” and “creepy.”

In the video, Gill raises his hand and gives the person behind the camera a thumbs-up and a smile.

“It was three staff members,” Gill said when asked to whom he was gesturing. “I worked with them before, we were part of the caucus so … I just thought they were sitting there in the waiting area. I had no clue that I was being recorded.”

READ MORE: Former UCP MLA goes to RCMP with mass voter fraud allegations in Kenney leadership race

Gill said he believes the video is an attempt to intimidate him.

A spokesperson for the Legislative Assembly of Alberta confirmed to Global News on March 5 that “the video was brought to our attention and is being looked at.” However, the spokesperson said she could not comment further.

—With files from Global’s Phil Heidenreich

Sponsored content