Names of people found to have broken Alberta elections laws by the province’s chief electoral officer will be published online following the transfer of investigations started by fired elections commissioner Lorne Gibson.
“We have determined that for all investigations, disclosure will include all components found in the former Election Commissioner’s disclosure, including the names of individuals,” Elections Alberta confirmed in a news release.
“Today, we will be re-posting the findings and decisions by the chief electoral officer for 2018 and 2019 to include the names of those fined or reprimanded.”
Thursday’s announcement clarifies a difference in policy followed by Gibson and Elections Alberta.
Elections Alberta traditionally did not disclose the names of individuals or organizations but Gibson did, which created a problem for the governing United Conservative Party.
Gibson, who was fired last week upon proclamation of Bill 22, levied more than $200,000 in fines in connection with the UCP leadership race won by Premier Jason Kenney.
Gibson’s investigations were transferred to Elections Alberta following his termination.
The change in policy comes after the result of an investigation involving “a campaign manager ” alleged to have obstructed an Elections Alberta investigation in the December 2017 Calgary-Lougheed byelection was posted on the Elections Alberta website.
The penalty was posted without naming the campaign nor the individual involved, which court documents revealed was Alan Hallman, who managed Jason Kenney’s first election as MLA.
Hallman was issued an administrative penalty of $1,500 which he appealed. The appeal was dismissed earlier this month.
Elections Alberta is headed by Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler, an independent officer of the Alberta legislature .
In the same release, Elections Alberta said all current investigations are continuing despite the dissolution of elections commissioner’s office. Investigators are working in the same space and all evidence remains in the same secure place.
“Prior to any movement of these documents, either to Elections Alberta head office or to our secure servers, processes will be established to ensure the appropriate back-up and security of the paper and electronic data transfer, to ensure there is no risk of loss,” the release said.
Gibson’s termination as elections commissioner was criticized by the NDP as a move prompted by Kenney’s desire to keep politically damaging evidence away from the public.
The government says it is simply reducing bureaucracy and saving money by combining two offices into one. Although Gibson was fired, the position of elections commissioner remains.
The position now reports to Chief Electoral Officer Glen Resler. The government says Resler could rehire Gibson if he wanted to.
However there is no timeline in legislation for that to occur meaning the position could remain vacant indefinitely. The NDP says Resler’s own contract is up in April so they have raised doubts if he would bring Gibson back on board.
Resler will appear before the MLAs on the standing committee on legislative offices on Friday.