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Wildrose claims censorship

The Wildrose Alliance is accusing the Alberta legislature and the majority Tories of attempting to muzzle the fledgling party by banning it from quoting its unelected leader in caucus news releases and on caucus websites.

The Wildrose Alliance is accusing the Alberta legislature and the majority Tories of attempting to muzzle the fledgling party by banning it from quoting its unelected leader in caucus news releases and on caucus websites.

The Alliance received a letter from the legislature clerk’s office last week saying it may not use Danielle Smith’s name in official legislative communications because she is not an elected member.

The party is requesting that legislative Speaker Ken Kowalski, a Tory who is appointed as the neutral moderator of the house, immediately withdraw the warning.

“This is clear censorship and we’re not going to stand for it. And I don’t think Albertans are going to stand for it,” Smith said yesterday. “When the government starts interfering with what the opposition can or cannot put in their press releases, it crosses the line. It doesn’t make sense and we’ve indicated we’re not going to comply with it and we’ve asked the Speaker to withdraw the letter.”

An official in the Speaker’s office said there are clear rules governing how members of the legislature and caucuses are allowed to spend money.

“The guidelines issued by the legislative assembly for caucus expenditures provide a specific section on restrictions on caucus expenditures which reads: ‘Caucus activities and transactions should be separate and distinct from party activities, party identity, logos, coloured web pages, events or transactions and particularly election activities,’” said Bev Alenius, executive assistant to the Speaker.

The Wildrose is still embroiled in a battle with the government over caucus funding.

Back in June, Tories on the members’ services committee voted against a motion that would have seen the then three-member Alliance caucus get as much funding as the two-member NDP. Government members of the committee argued that the Wildrose was asking for a leader’s allowance and Smith does not hold a seat in the legislature.

 
 
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