‘This is Third World politics at its finest’

In a letter to the editor (Allegations ‘a drive-by smear,’ Stettler Independent, Nov. 20), former MLA Jack Hayden suggests taxpayers

Dear Editor:

In a letter to the editor (Allegations ‘a drive-by smear,’ Stettler Independent, Nov. 20), former MLA Jack Hayden suggests taxpayers in the province should wink, or perhaps benignly smile, when we learn about county or municipal employees who, while at work, use their taxpayer-funded time and the resources of local government to engage in activities on behalf of a political party.

Mr. Hayden further suggests that to inquire about such behavior is a “witch hunt,” and that bad judgment by local officials in that regard should be overlooked because who “hasn’t taken a personal call or sent a personal email or text during working hours?”

Mr. Hayden fails to mention that it was not a single phone call or text message that was talked about in the newspaper column about which he is now critical (‘This is corruption’ in County of Stettler, Derek Fildebrandt, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Stettler Independent, Nov. 13).

Nor is it a single email or text message being discussed when it is suggested that the serious nature of the situation merits an inquiry.

There are more than 100 pages of emails in question, and Mr. Hayden himself was cc’d on repeatedly, indicating that he knew partisan political activities were being co-ordinated and/or facilitated from within the county office.

Surely, Mr. Hayden doesn’t object to the rights of taxpayers to know what’s been going on. And surely he recognizes that if county officials won’t be forthcoming, a formal Freedom of Information request is appropriate.

Mr. Hayden also overlooks mentioning the many tens of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars that, over time, were transferred from local governments and provincial government agencies to the Alberta PC Party.

This is Third World politics at its finest. Yet Mr. Hayden’s solution is to sweep the whole thing under the nearest carpet.

In effect, he then tries to draw a kind of parallel between this sort of political gutterball “fundraising” and the virtue of raising money for Special Olympics. The two are clearly unalike and unrelated.

The point is, that the way public officials do things does matter.

And whether Mr. Hayden likes it or not, municipal or county employees using taxpayer-funded resources and their time at taxpayer-funded jobs to pursue the interests of their favourite political party is unethical. Period.

It’s also illegal. Period.

Similarly, locally elected government officials using taxpayer funds to attend fundraising events held by a political party is unethical. Period.

And illegal. Period.

Mr. Hayden’s argument that everyone was doing it, that it’s in the past, or that the individuals responsible were well-intended, is fine and good, but good intentions never justify turning your back on the law.

It is never the right time to do the wrong thing, and every elected official (and ex-elected official) ought to know that, and say that.

Rick Strankman, MLA

Wildrose Official Opposition



Just Posted

Paradise Shores work stoppage frustrating for everyone: County

Notice of another appeal hearing posted on County web site late last week

Lunch for a great cause

Scotiabank hosts fundraising BBQ for the Central Alberta Multiple Sclerosis Society

100 Men Stettler gearing up for next meeting June 4th

Local group has raised thousands for community non-profits

Music in the Park kicks off in June

In just a few short weeks, great tunes will be heard in West Stettler Park

Stettler’s history richly showcased at local museum

The Museum features several original buildings from Stettler’s past

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Most Read