EDMONTON- What started as a request for information by a Wildrose MLA has caused some controversy in our province.
On Friday, Joe Anglin, MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, emailed the Municipal Affairs Minister’s Chief of Staff, Tim Morrison, to inquire why he was not on the mail out list to receive up-to-date information on the wildfire situation in Nordegg.
Anglin argued that as a former member of Rimbey Town Council, he used to receive the updates and wondered why, as an official who represents 30,000 people, he was no longer on the list.
Morrison responded to Anglin stating that as an MLA, he has “no role in the decision making when it comes to the fire fighting and decisions being made, “and as per provincial protocol, the only MLA on the mail out list is the minister.
The email exchange went back and forth until a final email from Anglin raised eyebrows among members of the provincial government.
Read the entire email exchange below:
Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk says while the email was interesting, there is a way to go about requesting information in this province.
“Sometimes reality and fiction are very, very close to each other, and he just seems to be straddling between the two quite poetically. Let me say this: I would hire him to write a book, but not to run a government.”
“Meetings are established based on protocols and information shared based on protocols, not based on anybody’s personal experiences from their pre-elected life,” Lukaszuk added.
Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths has addressed the issue with Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith. In an email, Griffiths said Anglin’s words did not offend him, but thought his response “seemed unusual and not in keeping with typical professional correspondence.”
“While I understand that a threatening situation such as a wildfire can raise emotions, my staff member (Morrison) was simply outlining the communication process that is followed by local municipal officials, Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) and responsible government decision makers.”
Director of communications for the Wildrose Official Opposition, Brock Harrison, responded with a statement saying, “While Joe probably could have expressed himself in less colourful terms, his point remains valid.”
“MLAs should be kept in the loop about emergency response measures deployed in their communities. The minister’s office has assured us they weren’t offended by his email and they will strive to keep communications channels open going forward.”
With files from Vassy Kapelos, Global News.