Olive Crane short on resources as independent

As an independent MLA, Olive Crane will have to work more independently when the new session of the legislature starts next month.

As an independent MLA, Olive Crane will have to work more independently when the new session of the legislature starts next month.

When Olive Crane speaks and the resources she has available will change now that she is sitting in the legislature as an independent. (CP)

Crane was removed from the Progressive Conservative caucus on Friday, and with that ejection comes the loss of access to resources provided by the legislature to the official opposition.

"Staff are provided, for example, for the official opposition caucus, as well as a grant is provided for the official opposition caucus," Charlie MacKay, clerk of the legislative assembly, told CBC News.

"None of that exists for an independent member of the legislature. If there's official party recognition in the legislative assembly then there can be additional supports provided but at this point for independent members those additional supports do not exist."

Crane will get an office with a phone and workstation. MacKay said there is $35,000 in funding for a recognized third party in the legislature, but Crane won't qualify for that as an independent Progressive Conservative, which is how she has declared herself.

That does not, however, make Crane any less than a full member of the legislature.

"Even though sitting as an independent member, [she] still is an elected member of the legislative assembly," said MacKay.

"Being elected and returned to the house they do participate fully in the proceedings of the House. There's opportunity to speak on budget and on motions and other activities of the legislature."

When Crane will get those opportunities, and where she will sit, will be determined by the speaker.

The last MLA who was not a member of government or official opposition caucus was Herb Dickieson, who was elected as an NDP member for one term in 1996. The last independent MLA in the legislature was Allison Ellis, who split from the Liberal party in 1992.


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