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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

opposition grills alison redford on lorne gibson dismissal.

Opposition Liberal MLAs Kevin Taft, Kent Hehr, and Hugh MacDonald grill PC Justice Minister Alison Redford on the firing of Chief Returning Officer Lorne Gibson and the continuing Election 2008 fiasco in this video clip of Question Period in the Alberta Legislature.


AGRDT has a solid run down of the commentary on Gibson's dismissal.

(h/t to MarvinMouse for the Youtube link)

9 comments:

Ian said...

It's good to see the opposition (both parties) continue to hound on this. Too bad the Tories won't budge.

ch said...

Allison Redford = biggest disappointment ever.

Mr Bojangles said...

I was about to type "our entire government = biggest disapointment ever -- and then I realized that really didn't expect any more from these schmucks. What a sad, sad state of affairs we have in this province.

Ken Chapman said...

Thanks Dave for finding this and posting it. It is very disturbing that our democracy is apparently being undermined by legal positioning and posturing.

The events in question require a forthright addressing of the pith and substance of the issues and concerns by OUR government.

Chandler Kent said...

From an anonymous post that was left the last time Dave did a story on this. Ken, get a grip...

Maybe if Gibson had spent more time doing his job, instead of whining that his recommendations hadn't been dealt with, the last election wouldn't have resulted in stories like the one below, where your former boss takes Gibson to task. A proper enumeration might have solved a lot of problems, don't you think? I would also point out that the premier has said returning officer appointments will be given to the CEO's office. I do feel it is incumbent upon me to point out that Mr. Gibson has been a tad disingenuous on the whole RO issue. All returning officer recommendations were provided to him. He and his staff interviewed all candidates and rejected a number of them for various reasons. All the individuals who became ROs were accepted by him, BEFORE they were appointed by order-in-council. I'm told that PC office staff spent months finding 83 acceptable candidates, after he rejected numerous folks who were experienced, or drove them away (several qualified individuals attended his training sessions, then quit).

Taft urges election probe
March 3 vote 'worst-run' ever, Liberal leader says in letter to auditor general
Jason Fekete, Calgary Herald; Canwest News Service
Published: Monday, July 07 2008
Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft is calling on the province's auditor general to investigate a blizzard of irregularities from the March 3 provincial vote, insisting it was the "worst-run election ever."

In a letter to be sent today to Auditor General Fred Dunn, the Liberal leader requests a special investigation into the operations and conduct of Elections Alberta, the agency responsible for provincial elections.

Based on first-hand accounts and hundreds of pages of supporting documents collected by the Liberals, Taft charges there was widespread chaos in the lead-up to the election, and at polling stations on voting day.

The irregularities identified by the Liberals -- including incomplete voters lists, unacceptably long lineups and erroneous voter information cards -- mirror many of findings of a Calgary Herald report published last week.

"The fair and proper conduct of elections is one of the very foundations of democracy," says Taft's letter to Dunn, who is responsible for auditing Elections Alberta.

"It is crucial that public confidence in the election system not degenerate, and I believe there is a risk of that happening if these problems are not addressed."

Election-day woes contributed to Alberta recording what's believed to be the lowest voter turnout ever for a provincial election in Canada: just 41.4 per cent.

The Herald investigation found that hundreds of electors at some polling stations weren't on the voters list, despite living in the same residence for years and having been accounted for in previous elections.

That meant voters had to be sworn in with a statutory declaration to get on the list of electors, which produced long lineups.

Several polling stations reported that frustrated voters walked out without ever casting a ballot.

Returning officers -- the people responsible for the election proceedings in each riding -- said there was "a lot of chaos" on March 3, due to the sloppy voters list, poorly trained election workers and voting cards directing people to the wrong polling station.

The Liberals also have uncovered similar problems with a binder full of documents and supporting information that will be delivered to Dunn.

Taft worries the troubles on election day are only feeding public cynicism and apathy about politics, and further eroding voter turnout.

Chief Electoral Officer Lorne Gibson said in a recent interview that he was particularly troubled by stories of voters being inexplicably left off the list of electors, which caused many to walk out without casting ballots.

Yet Gibson maintained the March election was "pretty typical" compared to most campaigns. "Things seemed to go fairly well on election day," he said. "I wasn't disappointed."

Taft, however, said Sunday in an interview that he's extremely disappointed in Gibson and Elections Alberta, insisting the agency isn't properly addressing the voting problems and that an independent review by the auditor general is needed.

"We need somebody from the outside to investigate," Taft said. "This is about protecting the very foundation of a functioning democracy.

The Liberal party received reports of voters being directed to incorrect polling stations in constituencies across the province. One such account from a scrutineer said at least 100 people were directed to two or three separate polling stations on election day, in a frantic effort to cast a ballot.

Some estimates from election workers suggested the voters list was only about 50-per-cent correct, and that hundreds of vexed voters left certain polling stations without marking an X.

Further impediments to voting, the Liberals argue, included more than 7,000 students at the University of Lethbridge not having a mobile poll, despite repeated requests for one.


Beyond front-line election day problems, the Grits also highlight that about half of the 83 returning officers appointed in Alberta had partisan connections to the Progressive Conservative party.

Gibson, the chief electoral officer, noted the Tory government has ignored all of the 99 recommendations he made to the province nearly two years ago on how to improve the electoral system.

One of his top recommendations was for the government to surrender its power to appoint returning officers to Elections Alberta, so that the agency can name the officials at its convenience.

He insists that the government's late appointment of returning officers was responsible for many of the problems on election day.

Premier Ed Stelmach has promised to review Gibson's report.

roblaw said...

Well.. it would appear there were some legitimate issues in the election being run more efficiently - no question, and perhaps, an earlier appointment of officers would have helped, but, just a couple of thoughts:

a) The opposition clearly had major concerns for Gibson's performance, and one imagines that, if Gibson continued in his position, like a pack of braying hounds, the opposition would have been calling for his termination - as it is, now that he hasn't been re-hired, they are on the "scapegoat wagon"...

b) If the Liberals think that the average Albertan is going to join their sinking ship because they, in reality, are suggesting they got pounded in the last election because of polling station mismangement, they are in bigger trouble than they know..

If anything, difficulty getting to the polls and delays benefitted the Liberals. Certainly, the most angry or upset with status quo are going to be more likely to wait in line - whereas those who are content with the status quo, Conservative supporters, are the ones most likely to turn away, on the very safe assumption that the Conservatives are going to win the election anyway..

So, perhaps the Liberals ought to find issues that matter, and stick with that - legitimate concerns? How about independant advocates for seniors in care? I'm a conservative, and I could get behind that..

It is truly the same old, same old.. the Conservatives do their best, which is hardly going to be perfect, and the Liberals do what they do - which is make noise on points that Albertans find more or less irrelevant.. assuring that rather than constructive work to improve the Province, they will simply make noise without purpose, and then turn around and get pouned in the next Provincial election..

Anonymous said...

Well said roblaw, if the Liberals gave me a reason to pay attention to them I might. So far nothing. They are constanly looking at what passed rather than contribute in a meaningful way to what may come.

jk said...

Roblaw:

"If the Liberals think that the average Albertan is going to join their sinking ship because they, in reality, are suggesting they got pounded in the last election because of polling station mismangement, they are in bigger trouble than they know.."

Good thing there isn't a Liberal (with any sort of profile, at least) in the province that suggests they lost the election because of polling station mismanagement.

"it is truly the same old, same old.. the Conservatives do their best, which is hardly going to be perfect, and the Liberals do what they do - which is make noise on points that Albertans find more or less irrelevant"

It is truly the same old, same old: arrogant Tories abusing democratic process and then writing it off because they assume that "Albertans" find it "irrelevant." How do you know they find it "irrelevant?" Because 21% of them voted for your party in the last election?

If this is "the best" your party can do, than perhaps you guys are in "more trouble than you know."

Frankie said...

Does Alberta deserve a strong Chief Electoral Returning Officer to run elections properly in this province?

Yes it does.

Is Lorne Gibson that person?

I'd say no.

Were there armed guards preventing people from voting last election? Nope, just laziness.