Letters to the Editor
ernment Offices, as well, do not address topics such as the conduct of Municipal Government officials? Interestingly, CAO Plachner did not provide me with the documentation substantiating her claim so going forward I would be completely informed so as to share this regulation with others.
The entire theme of the Deputy Mayor’s post was to malign and marginalize [at times resorting to name calling] those who he refers to in his post who have sought to approach Morrin Village Council and administration with what they consider legitimate concerns and requests and in many cases rightful access to documents.
He indicates that this [theme] approach is entirely appropriate in “doing what is best for the Village”.
His method in dealing with the concerns presented by these persons he highlights in his post is to consider their concerns, make a determination and rule the matter closed or resolved (term usually documented in meeting minutes). More ‘the rule than the exception’ is there any toleration of further discussion.
Deputy Macleod champions the efforts of the Village council, administration and their ‘reporter’ [they all should be prepared to take individual responsibility for their actions and decisions] while ignoring and denigrating the efforts of those individuals who want their democratic rights upheld.
He is very clear in his opinions as to the motives of the persons he maligns.
However, these are indeed only opinions as at no time does he offer any documentation that would indicate any fact.
In conclusion, I concede that the Village finances are being taken care of very well and I am most appreciative of that. However, this is only a part of the responsibility these local officials have in serving the Village. Some food for thought. Democracy, in its worst case, could be two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for din- ner. Liberty, in its best case, is an armed, well-trained lamb contesting the vote. ANONYMOUS
To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize. VOLTAIRE Respectfully, Howard Helton Dear Editor ***
Who can we trust with public money?
Recently, a woman on Facebook asked: “Who can we trust with public money?”
She’d just learned that Brian Jean is responsible for a $322,000 deficit in the Wildrose caucus budget. She’d also learned that prior to the disclosure, Wildrose MLAs had sought clarification and information about that budget, only to be rebuffed or stonewalled.
Many people don’t seem to understand the difference between the Wildrose party budget and the Wildrose caucus budget. The party budget consists of voluntary memberships and donations, and is the responsibility of the party president. The caucus budget is funded by taxpayers, and is the responsibility of the legislative caucus leader—in this case, Brian Jean.
Not a dime of caucus money is supposed to be spent on partisan political activities. If a caucus leader did hire workers for party business or to campaign for someone’s leadership bid, it’d be an infraction of the rules.
Yet bumping against the rules is exactly what many have accused Jean of doing. Leading up to the unity vote, Jean increased caucus staffing levels and spending by 30%.
Former Wildrose MLA Scott Cyr was so concerned about Jean’s management of caucus funds that he earlier sent a formal inquiry asking for an explanation. The Ed- monton Sun reports that even then, Cyr was never allowed open access to caucus budget documents.
Rick Strankman, MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, made repeated requests for a written flowchart explaining exactly who all the new people were, what they did, and to whom they reported. Partial information was presented, yet Strankman never received a comprehensive explanation— neither was the requested written flowchart provided.
Jean and his defenders insist that if Jean had been allowed to manage the budget over a full one-year period, it would have ended in balance. Yet there is no next year or six months from now for the Wildrose caucus. It’s done. Jean deliberately boosted spending, carried a huge deficit to the finish line, and dropped it there.
Now that the two parties have merged, and MLAs Fildebrandt and Starke are independents, the United Conservative Party (UCP) caucus budget for the rest of the year is about $1.9 million. Jean’s deficit must be taken from that, or gotten from constituency budgets held by individual MLAs.
Four candidates are seeking leadership of the UCP: Brian Jean; Jeff Callaway, a former Wildrose president; Doug Schweitzer, past CEO of Manitoba’s PC Party and campaign manager for short-term Premier Jim Prentice; and Jason Kenney, a former leader of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation who held four federal cabinet positions. In Ottawa, Kenney managed huge portfolios, coming in under budget every single year, even posting surpluses up to 25%.
So which of these individuals do you think we should—or should not—trust with public money? John Satink boardmember/director of Grassroots Alberta, a provincial non-profit society. (www.GrassrootsAlberta.ca)