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Alberta Politics

transparency rules.

The cover of this week's SEE Magazine in Edmonton.

While announcing the dates of their upcoming leadership contest last week, the Alberta Party also released the contest rules, which include some interesting and encouraging requirements for candidates to release and make public a list of financial donors to their campaign.

A condition of candidacy is that a candidate for election as Leader shall consent to full disclosure of all donations, receipts and expenses related to the campaign, including:

(i) an interim report on the same, in the form adopted by the convention rules committee which shall be filed by the Official Agent of the candidates with the Convention Rules Committee 14 days in advance of Voting Day; and
(ii) a final report on the same, which shall be filed by the Official Agent of the candidate with the Convention Rules Committee within 30 days after voting day

The donor information contained in both the interim and final reports referred to in (5) above will be posted by the Alberta Party to its website (Candidates are urged to post donor information, for the knowledge of the public, on a real time basis).

There are no laws governing political party leadership contest in Alberta and each party has the opportunity to be as transparent or closed-door as they decide when it comes to financial contributions and making public the names of campaign donors.

Progressive Conservative
There were no rules requiring candidates in the 2006 PC leadership contest to release the names of their financial donors, but this did not stop some from making their donor lists public.

Candidates Jim Dinning, Dave Hancock, and Mark Norris released varying versions of donors lists, some which included specific donation amounts for each donor and some listing donors in categories between donation sizes. Current Finance Minister Ted Morton refused to make public a list of donors who supported his bid to become Leader of the PC Party.

The contest winner, now-Premier Ed Stelmach released a partial list of financial contributors to his leadership campaign, keeping secret the names of 80 donors whose contributions made up 15% of the $1.1 million raised by his leadership campaign. The partially released list allowed the media and opposition parties to later point out fairly obvious conflict-of-interests, but the remaining eighty donors remain secret.

While not committing to implement any changes in the short-term, PC Party President Bill Smith has publicly committed to have a system in place to monitor and make public who donates cash to their leadership campaigns for his party’s next leadership campaign.

Liberal Party
Candidates in the December 2008 Liberal leadership contest were required to provide the Party with a list of donors who had contributed to their campaign. The donors lists were then posted on the Liberal Party website. The section of the Liberal Party website that had listed these donors was removed when that Party relaunched their website late last year.

New Democratic Party
I was not able to find any current information on whether candidates for the leadership of Alberta’s NDP would be required to release a list of financial contributions. The last time the Alberta NDP held a contested leadership race was in 1996, so it is possible that in the absence of a campaign over the past 15 year that these rules do not exist.

Wildrose Alliance
Leadership candidates in the 2009 contest were not required to release a list of their financial contributors. Leadership contest winner and current Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith claims to have raised $250,000 for her leadership campaign, but has refused to release the names of her donors. Ms. Smith told the Edmonton Journal after her election in 2009 that she would not make public a list of her donors because they “are afraid of repercussions by this government.”

Alberta’s former Chief Elections Officer, Lorne Gibson, proposed in 2009 that the Elections Finances Act be amended to include a section governing political party leadership finances. Mr. Gibson’s contract was not renewed by a PC MLA dominated legislative committee soon after the recommendations were made.

According to a report released by Public Interest Alberta, there are currently three Provinces that require party leadership contestants to release names of their financial backers. In Ontario, leadership candidates are required to report from the time of the official call of the contest until two months after the vote and then within six months of the contest’s completion. In Manitoba and British Columbia, leadership contestants are required to report a list of their financial contributions and donors thirty days after the end of the contest.

14 replies on “transparency rules.”

At this point with the underhanded methods employed by the PC’s it is not wise to expose donors to backlash from this government. This government has proven itself over and over again to be vendictive and spiteful. If the AP thinks this is a plus, it is in fact a minus because some companies and people will not want their names exposed. Great in theory but not so great in reality.

Yes, unfortunately D-day is correct, with the present Government anything that that they do not like or if you publicly oppose them ( in this case support opposition)they do retaliate. This P.C Government is worse then the school yard bully.

“Ms. Smith told the Edmonton Journal after her election in 2009 that she would not make public a list of her donors because they “are afraid of repercussions by this government.”

–>Nice try, Smith, what an undemocratic thing to say. The public deserves the truth.

Unfortunately, Calgary voters do not ascribe to transparency, fairness, accountablity or getting value for their tax dollars. That can be the only reason why they keep doing the same thing over and over again and blindly voting RW parties, without deep though or contemplation.

Alberta public wants ALL parties from the left to right to release all donors. We always want the truth, except Calgarians, of course, they are happy being lied to, cheated and deceived, all the time, as long as they have a job out of it, that is how low the Calgarian expection is set for RW parties they keep voting in.

With the energy revenues, that we do have, we really should be getting better value for the relative cash flow we have to other provinces and there should not be ANY deficit. Unfortunately, you can’t really tell on the surface that we are actually a wealthy province.

Who needs transparency, when we have a brain dead master slave love affair with RW parties in this province that give diddly squat to the tax payers.

We like living repressed and ignorant, we are Albertans!

Any word as to how much (if any) the leadership candidates have to front as a deposit? Is there a cost prohibitive element to running for the AB Party Leader?

Neal: I believe that the rules called for a $1000 entry fee. Not an unreasonable fee to cover admin costs in my opinion.

Thoughts on whether the fee is reasonable or should exist?

@”Call it like it is”, Are you saying that the PC’s would not use that information to persecute those that dare challenge their rule???? Wake up!

@D-Day,

Any RW party would, the PC’s and WRA, alike. We need checks and balances back, regardless who is in power, RW or LW. RW gov’ts are circumventing and weakening the people’s power constantly at an alarming rate.

I absolutely agree with you there. We also need rules to prevent people from doing te kinds of thing that make it necessary to keep people’s identies secret. The current government is very similar to communist governments from the past that punish those that do not conform. It’s them that need to conform and follow rules that penalize those who don’t with permanent expulsion. The abuse that is currently going on by those in power is sickening and it has to be stopped and that is 100% correct “no matter who is in power”

@D-Day,

These RW gov’ts are very short sighted, the Klein era cuts in healthcare were done deep enough to kickout Dr.s and Nurses out of AB, and closures have caused the queues to pile up at the ER for a future premier to deal with.

Well, that is Stelmach’s crap to clean up now. Its not his fault, he didn’t create it, but didn’t help it either.

This cut and slash to be fiscal, just shifts the costs of running essential services to the future. In the mean time, health care has fallen hugely behind and we are paying an extra $1000 in taxes a year just to have our kids in school and the Provincial infrastructure is 30 years behind, according to a journal I read recently!

So does fiscal mean that we slash now and force the costs on the people later?!?!, while royalties are completely untouched??!?! On top of that we have to build an Arena, more taxes, on top of that we have pay for powerlines!??!?! WTF is going on here~!?!?

Pardon my french here, but this is a royal screw job on Albertans. Who is deciding the priorities here?

I am not saying we should do a free for all and give everything to everybody here. I am just saying that we are balancing budgets on the back of eroding our own foundations, like roads, health and the future of Albertan children. The willful destruction of our children’s futures is the largest attrocity going on today. This will translate in the future to an unhealth population, that is more uneducated and in turn, will end up being a burden on corporations and society at large! So….where is he wisdom in saving money this way!?!? Past administrations are actually creating problems that will requires extremely expensive cures that are unsustainable. It almost appears like an intentional action to screw health, edcuation and roads to force privatization, as such a screwed population’s needs will be unsustainable by a public system. What these guys have done makes absolutely no sense!

In the long run, corporations are more profitable, productive and have less down time, when people are educated and healthy.

What I am saying, is that these so-called fiscal cuts are short sighted and in the long term actually hurts corporate growth! There has to be more intelligent management of our resources, not just one-sided cuts and one-sided wealth transfer, there must be balance and the pain and success must be equally shared, otherwise something is left behind!

Why is this even talked about? Who cares who donates to a political party’s leadership race. I don’t want the government getting into the middle of this.

Living in Stel-ingrad is always dangerous when it comes to exposing who you support. The PC Gov’t has proven time and again if they don’t like your voice they silence it! I truly believe we need full disclosure if we are to gain any kind of trust from the public.

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