As a public service, here is the full text of the controversial memorandum to Justice Department employees, dated April 7, discussed in this morning’s post. The directive tells this group of civil servants they must inform their supervisors if they intend to campaign for any political party in the current election campaign. While the instructions in the memo have now been countermanded by Premier Jim Prentice in a statement on Facebook, arguably the chilling effect of the email has not. The existence of the memo was first reported by CBC Edmonton yesterday.

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Subject: Procedures During an Election

Good afternoon,

As you know, Premier Prentice has called a provincial election. We would like to remind you of the importance of maintaining the political neutrality of the public service. While it is essential that services to Albertans continue uninterrupted between now and the election, there are some specific procedures that go into effect during this period which are outlined in the attached document (also available on our intranet ) .

Staff are not restricted from working on political campaigns. However, any work must be done on personal time using personal resources. If you wish to volunteer in a way that will require you to do campaign work during normal working hours, you must take an unpaid leave or vacation time to avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest. If you are volunteering, even if it is just on your own time, please let your supervisor know.

In addition, please be aware that section 15 of the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Public Servants restricts public servants from directly soliciting contributions on behalf of a political party. The Code also restricts executive managers and above from holding office in a political party or constituency association.

If you have any questions about these procedures, please do not hesitate to contact one of us or your Assistant Deputy Minister.


Kimberly Armstrong, QC

Deputy Attorney General

Acting Deputy Minister

Justice and Solicitor General


Curtis Clarke, PhD

Acting Deputy Solicitor General

Justice and Solicitor General

Join the Conversation


  1. Ugh. Well, it can’t be said that government communications officers don’t know how to deliver a message.
    Unfortunately that message is “You’d better not, OR ELSE”

  2. I would like to be able to right that I’m surprised by the lack of participation in the comments here, but I’m not. Cowards.

  3. Over a 44 year career, I worked for a publicly-funded university, a provincial government, a municipal government (16 years), and the federal government (13 years). I never surrendered my right to have a political opinion. I never worked on an election campaign for the level of government by which I was then employed. I never allowed my personal opinions to affect my service to the public. But I worked on 22 election campaigns, and I never surrendered to the kind of intimidation that we have seen from the Alberta Conservative dynasty.

  4. Clearly a time for a more market fundamentalist approach to government that respects individuals rights to campaign and brings in long-needed right to work legislation that supports workers, not greedy union bosses.

    1. Nice try troll!

      Right! That’s the same market fundamentalism that contract pipeline leaking Kinder Morgan to clean up oil spills in English Bay. Or, the same fundamentalism that circumvents the mechanism of the labour market by hiring TFW to artificially depress wages.

      Yeah, let’s all cheer the market fundamentalists who advocate no taxes for anyone, and layoffs for all public servants – except of course market fundamentalist cheerleading politicians, who fail to see the irony they are in fact living off the public teat.

      Right to work legislation? Nice Orwellian doublespeak for right to be enslaved at subsistence wages by the elites. That’s a nice slogan for work camps that goes hand in hand with another famous slogan, “Work will make you free.”

  5. Got the exact same memo from our DM at municipal affairs. Presumably this came from the DM group as a whole. I don’t really see the issue though. The public service is meant to be neutral and as public servants we shouldn’t be using public resources to campaign. That’s the ideal, at least. What kind of public resources the PCs may be using to bolster their campaign is a whole other question.

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