Sanctions against Ric McIver should wait until judical review, legislature told

Sanctions against Ric McIver should wait until judical review, legislature told

Interim Progressive Conservative leader Ric McIver shouldn't face penalties recommended by Alberta's ethics commissioner until a judicial review of the matter is heard in court, his caucus argued Wednesday.

PC house leader Dave Rodney told the assembly the matter should wait until a judicial review of commissioner Marguerite Trussler's ruling is heard in January 2018.

"We should not hold ourselves above the courts but rather return to this motion," Rodney said. "We're not pushing it away. We're saying that we should return to this motion once those with the relevant judicial expertise have had their opportunity to weigh in."

The issue arose Wednesday after NDP house leader Brian Mason made a motion requiring McIver to pay a $500 fine and apologize to the assembly.

The penalties were recommended by Trussler after she found McIver breached the conflicts of interest act last November by asking a question in the assembly about the government's electricity price cap.

McIver's wife, Christine, is the sole shareholder of Brighter Futures Energy Inc., an electricity retailer.

Wednesday's debate in the legislature was adjourned without any vote on the motion.

Mason said under the Conflicts of Interest Act the motion to sanction McIver had to be introduced within 15 days of the report being tabled in the legislature. 

He expects the judge conducting the judicial review will likely direct the matter back to the legislature. 

Trussler's investigation was triggered by a complaint from Edmonton-Manning NDP MLA Heather Sweet.

Last month, McIver filed an application in Court of Queen's Bench asking for a judicial review. He argues the matter raises issues about a parliamentarian's freedom of speech.