Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Premier Jim Prentice sits down with the Globe and Mail's Justin Giovannetti at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Alberta on Thursday, December 18, 2014.

Amber Bracken/The Globe and Mail

Tory members on an Alberta legislature committee insisted Tuesday that no one can tell them what to do, but then they followed through on an order from Premier Jim Prentice to claw back funding to the Auditor-General.

"We as committee members have full-fledged parliamentary privilege. We decide what's right and what's wrong in front of us," government backbencher Jason Luan of Calgary told the committee before the vote.

"I don't care if it's my neighbour commenting on anything. It could be my friends, my constituents and, in this case, this premier.

Story continues below advertisement

"It's all up to us sitting here with the full privilege to decide what we're going to vote on."

All eight Progressive Conservatives on the all-party legislative offices committee voted to rescind a decision made last week to reinstate $546,000 to the Auditor-General's budget. Liberal Laurie Blakeman and the NDP's David Eggen voted against the move.

Last Tuesday, several Tories on the committee voted with the opposition members to reinstate the money. It was a portion of $1.8-million which had been cut from the Auditor-General's office in December to help the government save money. They said the Auditor-General needed the cash and provided value for money.

But a day later, Mr. Prentice announced he was directing the committee to reverse the decision, because the cash wasn't available due to low oil prices.

Committee chair Matt Jeneroux, an Edmonton Tory MLA, called the meeting for Tuesday, but said no one directed him to do so or told him what to do. He said the committee reversed its decision based on new information on looming budget cuts and additional research that showed Alberta funds the Auditor-General well compared with other provinces.

During the meeting, Tory members were criticized for surrendering the committee's traditional arm's-length integrity.

"If you allow the Premier to dictate how you vote in these committees … then what's the point in even holding these meetings?" Wildrose Opposition MLA Rick Strankman asked.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Strankman is not on the committee and could not vote. The party has no representative since a mass floor-crossing to the Prentice Tories late last year.

The committee's two opposition politicians suggested Mr. Prentice's power is growing and unchecked in the legislature.

"The fact a premier has gone up on television and said, 'I demand the committee cut this money' … reflects very badly on Alberta and very badly on the Premier," said Ms. Blakeman.

"Premier Prentice is arrogant. He's autocratic. He likes to make backroom deals and this is just the latest manifestation of it," added Mr. Eggen.

Officials in Prentice's office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Auditor-General Merwan Saher said in a statement that his office will continue its work despite the budget cut.

Story continues below advertisement

"With a 2-per-cent reduction to our current budget of $27.3-million, we will … [use] our professional judgment to determine what specific work we can and cannot do."

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies