Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Evidence of Pork Barrel Politics in Alberta

Evidence of pork barrel politics in Alberta. From the Urban Dictionary, pork barrel politics refers to "the use of government funds for private projects. These projects usually benefit campaign contributors or a certain constituency. The pork is usually earmarked to appropriations bills, so that they will be guaranteed passage in Congress. For example, a highway bill in 2005 was filled with pork barrel politics, including more than $900 million for private projects in Alaska. The 2007 Defense and Homeland Security Appropriations Act included over $13 billion in pork."

In Alberta, there is evidence of pork barrel stemming from the municipal level to the provincial level. Albertans should not be surprised by this phenomenon in Alberta, considering the same provincial party has been in power for 41 years and counting. Systematic corruption has had a lot of time to spread and infiltrate Alberta society. The FDA identified severe systematic corruption in the Alberta electoral finance laws as an additional example. Alberta ranks last of Canada's ten provinces for electoral finance with a failing grade of 47.7%.

According to Alberta Liberal MLA Kent Hehr:

“As recently as this spring [of 2012], we were asking the government why council members and administrative staff in Rimbey made expense claims for political contributions to the tune of nearly $10,000, and why elected officials in Barrhead charged their taxpayers $720 to attend a PC fundraiser,” Hehr says. “Now we find the same kind of thing happening in St. Paul. There’s a perception out there that elected officials at the municipal level have to cozy up to the PC party in order to bring home the bacon. That’s a pretty sad commentary on the state of democracy in Alberta.”

Hehr says this is old-school pork-barrel politics, and proves that picking a new Tory premier isn’t enough to overcome decades of backroom deals and the powerful behind-the-scenes deal-making of the old boys’ club.

Hehr says that Ray Danyluk’s claim to not know what was going on in his own backyard is difficult to believe.

“He had no idea that PC party members in his constituency were doing their best to make sure their guy stayed in cabinet? Come on,” Hehr says. “How naive does he think Albertans are?”

Raj Sherman goes on to say:

“This slime-barrel politics has to stop. This is intimidation and coercion at the highest level. It’s immoral, unethical and illegal. Albertans should be outraged that their new premier [Redford] was elected in this way. It’s time to change our government.”

More on Alberta pork barrel 

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