Tuesday 30 October 2012

PC Fundraising Above Scrutiny?

I missed listening to the Alberta Question Period on Monday, but have since read the Hansard.

After this exchange:
Political Party Financial Contributions
Ms Smith: Turning to the business of the day, Mr. Speaker,
Alberta's reputation has been damaged. Our election financingprocess looks like it's been broken by abuse. We have asked theChief Electoral Officer to investigate the enormous and potentiallyillegal contribution from a single source to the government party.But even if the contribution is technically legal through a loopholein the existing law, it means the law is deeply flawed. When willthe government fix it?
The Speaker: Did you wish to direct that question to anyone in
particular?The hon. President of Treasury Board.
Mr. Horner: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Certainly, the Chief
Electoral Officer is an officer of this Legislative Assembly, andwe respect that on this side of the House a great deal. We believethat he is discharging his duties under the legislation that he has infront of him, and he's doing a good job doing that. Of course, theparty opposite doesn't really want to talk about its own history inthis regard in terms of that sort of thing. Perhaps in the 2004election campaign, when one individual bankrolled 75 per cent oftheir entire political contributions for that campaign, one mustwonder . . .
Mr. Anderson: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
The Speaker: A point of order has been noted from the Member
for Airdrie.
The hon. Leader of the Opposition for her first supplemental.
Ms Smith: I look forward to the hon. Member for Airdrie
correcting the record.Continuing on, Mr. Speaker, given that the government's vagueanswers and insistence that everything is okay have done nothingto restore the public's confidence, surely the Premier must agreethat the shell game that is damaging our public's trust has no placein our democracy.

278 Alberta Hansard October 29, 2012
Mr. Horner: Again, Mr. Speaker, one talks about shell games
across the way. This party has followed all of the rules that are inplace. We will co-operate with the Chief Electoral Officer on thismatter to a T. But, again, somewhat hypocritical of the partyacross the way when in the 2007 by-election the same individualwho bankrolled 75 per cent of their 2004 election campaign bankrolled 99.7 per cent of that party's contributions. Incredible.

It prompted a number of Wildrose supporters to tweet things like "the #wrp (Wildrose) didn't exist in 2004" or "Doug Horner needs to bone up on his Alberta political history #wrp not a party until Jan 2008"

And from Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson:
"#wrp is diff legal entity than Alliance" and "Katz can donate to whomever he wants but not if it is illegal. Nobody has donated 400G to the Wildrose Party-that is incorrect."

Unfortunately in this case I'm going to have to say the unthinkable - the PC's are correct.  The Wildrose and their predecessor the Alberta Alliance are indeed one and the same. Why that is so, is explained in full in Chapter 6, if I recall correctly. And yes there were very large donations from the Thorsteinson family.  (Mind you they were over several years)

The multiple donations of $30,000.00 from the Thorsteinson's (2004-2008) and the ones from Katz Group, family and business associates can be seen as very similar situations.

There is some key differences that everyone seems to overlooking:

One case the investigation was started based on a written request; the other, written requests seemed to either have been ignored or no action is being taken.

One case were several cheques from many individuals and businesses; the other is reportedly one cheque for up as many as 10 different individuals and business entities.

One case Elections Alberta requested (and got) RCMP involvement (via the Solicitor General) so they could compel donors (those who got the receipts) to provide PROOF it was in fact their money  they contributed.  (Section 34(1) of Election Finance Act.) ; the other appears will never even get that far.

It is absolutely appalling that the PC's of today won't open their books to the scrutiny that they expected, they asked for and they received from the Alberta Alliance. 

Update: Oct. 30, 10:30 PM

Chief electoral officer to probe Katz donations to PCs

Alberta's chief electoral officer is launching an investigation into donations made to the Progressive Conservative party by the owner of the Edmonton Oilers, Daryl Katz.
"The allegations are that the thresholds of $30,000 have been exceeded by one individual and the election filings that we've received in our office from the political parties indicate that those contributions were receipted for individuals associated with this one person," said Elections Alberta spokesman Drew Westwater.
"We've determined that there's enough issues and concerns around the source of the donations that have been made to the party that we will launch an investigation and look into the facts of the matter to see if the allegations are true or not."

Click on link to read entire article. 


  1. The shadows that can lurk in the closets of powerful men/women......
    My hope is that these people and those before them are not selling themselves for the opportunity to be someone or something. I cant however say this with confidence in regards to our current PC government

  2. That's just like Rob Anderson to ignore the history of Alberta Alliance.