Alberta PC leader Ric McIver allowed to return to legislative assembly
Eviction followed shouting match with Speaker over timing of a ruling
Interim Alberta PC Leader Ric McIver is back in the legislative assembly after he was invited to return by Speaker Bob Wanner.
McIver didn't apologize for the behaviour that got him expelled Monday. But he acknowledged Wanner had to the right to throw him out.
"I would like to acknowledge that when you did that, when you asked me to be removed from the house after I did not obey your request to sit down several times, you were correctly discharging your duties and acting within the scope of your authority. I recognize that," McIver told the legislature.
"Thank you, honourable member," Wanner replied. "I think it's time for us to move forward."
The government Tuesday removed the NDP amendment to a McIver motion that had sparked the initial argument with the Speaker.
Government house leader Brian Mason said withdrawal of the motion depended on McIver apologizing to the assembly, which he did not do.
"We'll see where we stand," Mason said.
McIver was escorted out of the assembly Monday by the sergeant-at-arms after a standoff with Wanner over the questionable timing of a ruling on an amendment.
MLAs usually have to apologize to the assembly to be allowed back in. McIver told reporters at a news conference earlier Tuesday that he wouldn't do that.
"I'm not apologizing for standing up to have the rulings of the house made in an unbiased way," he said. "I'm not apologizing for standing my ground, I'm not apologizing for insisting that private members' business gets to be made in an open way."
The dispute arose after an NDP MLA made an amendment to a motion McIver introduced on parental choice in education.
A point of order was raised which meant Wanner had to hear arguments on the issue before making a decision.
However, the PC caucus were given written copies of the ruling prior to anyone making arguments. When Wanner read his decision, it was exactly what was written on the document.
McIver ignored requests to sit down
McIver began shouting at Wanner and disregarded repeated requests to sit down.
When addressing the issue Tuesday, Wanner told MLAs in the assembly that the document was produced by table officers who advise him and anticipate issues before they arise.
"I want to assure members that I had not seen the amendment before it was introduced in the assembly," Wanner said. "Let me be clear that I did listen, and will always listen, to the arguments very carefully on any decisions on rulings in this assembly, but the decisions in the assembly are mine and mine alone."
Premier Rachel Notley noted it is long-standing practice for parliamentary counsel to advise the Speaker on procedural issues.
"I would suggest that Mr. McIver would probably do himself and his caucus a favour if he were to apologize for the conduct that he displayed in the house yesterday," Notley said.
McIver agreed the incident makes it look like the Speaker is predetermining issues before hearing arguments. But he said he isn't sure what to do about it.
"I would like to get to the bottom of that but someone else has to do it," he said. "I don't have the answers. I think Albertans are owed the answers."