NDP do away with residency rule for voting

Nathan Cooper says someone can move to Alberta, vote the next day

Submitted By Nathan Cooper UCP MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills Democracy and Accountability Critic

In the final days of the Alberta Legislature’s fall session, the NDP quietly rammed through major changes to how Alberta’s elections will work going forward.

Most notably, the NDP has scrapped the longstanding six month residency requirement to be able to vote. That’s right: under the NDP’s new law, someone could potentially move to Alberta the day before the election and vote.

The overwhelming majority of provinces currently have some sort of residency requirement before voting, with only Ontario and Newfoundland & Labrador having no requirement at all. Perhaps I’m alone, but I don’t know many Albertans that look to Toronto for inspiration.

The United Conservatives sought a common-sense amendment to the NDP’s legislation, requiring that someone would least need to have been in Alberta for 30 days before being able to vote (frankly, we would’ve preferred a number slightly higher than 30 days, but lowered our ask in the off chance the NDP would be willing to compromise). Sadly – but not entirely without surprise – the NDP rejected our proposal outright.

To make matters worse, a person could potentially vote without showing any ID or proof that he or she lives in Alberta. A ‘friend’ could simply vouch that this ‘new Albertan’ lives in Alberta (as long as this ‘friend’ has his/her own ID and is on the voters list). It’s not inconceivable that an individual could ‘move’ to Alberta just days before an election and vote without any proof of residency!

The NDP’s change greatly increase the risk of foul play in Alberta’s elections. But in response to the UCP’s valid concerns, the NDP accused the United Conservative Party of “lying” (this from the party responsible for the biggest lie in Alberta political history – the carbon tax never once mentioned during the 2015 election).

Despite the NDP’s bold accusations against the UCP, they were strangely unwilling to engage in any serious debate to expose the supposed ‘lie’. The government refused to hold committee hearings where expert witnesses could appear to provide their thoughts. The NDP even failed to consult with Alberta’s current Chief Electoral Officer – the independent officer of the Legislature responsible for overseeing Alberta’s elections – before introducing its bill!

For point of comparison, the Harper Government’s ‘Fair Elections Act’ of 2014 – much decried by the NDP and their friends – took 135 days to pass into law. Over two dozen committee meetings where held, with over 100 witnesses appearing to testify.

It’s abundantly clear that the NDP introduced its controversial change late in the fall session because they hoped Albertans would pay little attention to this attack on our democracy before Christmas.

The government actually expected its bill to be passed in just four days. The United Conservatives fought the NDP’s efforts, although the law was eventually passed after whopping eight days. While the NDP previously attacked such railroading tactics in opposition, they have adopted the worst tendencies of the government tossed out in 2015.

Does the fate of our democracy not deserve more than a few days of debate? The United Conservatives certainly believe so.

The latest moves by the NDP just prove why 2019 can’t come soon enough!

Just Posted

2019 Alberta Scotties, hosted in Stettler, could be anybody’s bonspiel

Competition will be lively between hometown rivalries, champs and hopefuls

Blackfalds RCMP on scene of school bus collision and car jacking

RCMP are looking for a silver 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander with Alberta license plate BNR655

Farmers are at increased risk of mental health issues such as depression or anxiety

Stettler County hosts Agriculture Mental Health Awareness Seminar

Erskine and area residents help couple who lost their home and belongings to a fire

Erskine Post Office accepting donations until end of January

WATCH: World-renowned illusionist, magician, escapist performs in Stettler

Matt Johnson performs two sold-out shows at Stettler Performing Arts Centre

Top Canadian athletes inducted into the Canada Games Hall of Honour

Athletes doing incredible things for communities are inducted into Hall of Honour, says Games CEO

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Blackfalds RCMP seeking information on activities of stolen Fountain Tire Truck

Blackfalds RCMP recovered truck following earlier collision and car-jacking

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after truck collides with six vehicles

No one was injured and the male driver was restrained by a nearby resident until police arrived

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Most Read