No apology as Rachel Notley withdraws remark that got her tossed from the House

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley on Monday withdrew her comment that got her thrown out of the house last week.

Notley was ordered to leave the legislative assembly Tuesday after she refused to apologize for saying Jason Nixon, the United Conservative Party House leader, was lying about Bill 22 and how it would terminate the election commissioner. 

On Monday, Notley did not apologize but she did withdraw her comment, which she said included “unparliamentary language.”

“Last week, we witnessed an unprecedented attack on Alberta’s democracy, namely the firing of the election commissioner while he was actively investigating members and associates of government caucus,” Notley said Monday.

“During question period, I used unparliamentary language to describe the government House leader’s actions when he claimed that Bill 22 does not fire the election commissioner. In fact, the bill did specifically fire the election commissioner and he has now been fired,” she said.

“In the face of the contradiction that appeared between the statement of the House leader and the words within the act, I used unparliamentary language when I said the House leader was misleading the house. While I retain my position that the House leader was incorrect when he suggested Bill 22 did not fire anyone, I respect the rules and traditions of this chamber and, as such, I withdraw my comment.”

Following Notley’s statement, Speaker Nathan Cooper said he considers the matter “dealt with and concluded.”

Notley was thrown out of the house last week when, during debate on Bill 22, she posed a question about the bill’s firing of Election Commissioner Lorne Gibson, who was in the middle of an investigation into the UCP leadership race.

Notley objected when UCP House leader Jason Nixon said “No one is firing anyone,” when answering her questions. 

Under House rules, MLAs are not allowed to say another member is lying or misleading the house. Usually, the issue is resolved when an MLA apologizes and withdraws their remarks at the request of the Speaker.

But Notley refused to do so. 

‘Requests for investigations’

Notley told reporters before Monday’s question period that the NDP will be sending in “requests for investigations and complaints” to Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler.

“We will absolutely be asking her to engage in investigation,” she said.

Under Section 26(1) of the Conflicts of Interest Act the Ethics Commissioner, staff cannot disclose if the Office of the Ethics Commissioner is currently investigating a matter or has received a request for an investigation.

Bill 22 was given royal assent on Friday.

Rachel Notley withdraws her comment from Nov. 19, when she said Jason Nixon misled the House. The Speaker calls the matter concluded, allowing Notley to return to the legislature. 0:50

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