A case for finance reform: Reclusive billionaire allegedly donated $430,000 to PC Party.

Canadian Money

Money

Mr. Katz declined requests for comment” was probably the least surprising sentence printed in the Globe & Mail this week as the national newspaper published reports that reclusive billionaire Daryl Katz had allegedly donated $430,000 to Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party during the recent provincial election. The maximum contribution limits allowed under elections financing laws are $30,000 during the election, which makes these allegations against Mr. Katz and Premier Alison Redford‘s governing party absolutely shocking.

Daryl-Katz

Daryl Katz

Initial reviews of the recently released Elections Alberta financial disclosures from the election period showed that Mr. Katz, his wife, his parents, his company and its top executives donated a combined $300,000 to the PC Party. This number was increased yesterday when the Globe & Mail reported that a source close to the PC alleged that “Mr. Katz provided a cheque for $430,000 to the PCs, a donation that was broken up into smaller pieces.” If true, Mr. Katz’s donations would represent a significant amount of the $1,522,581 raised through donations by the PC Party during the recent election.

Mr. Katz, the billionaire pharmaceutical retail company magnate and owner of the Edmonton Oilers, had previously only made small contributions to the PC Party and the Wildrose Party. In 2007, Mr. Katz’s company donated $15,000 to Mayor Stephen Mandel‘s re-election campaign.

This debacle comes only weeks after Mr. Katz’s attempted to renegotiate through the media the rich deal his company had already negotiated with the City of Edmonton to fund construction of a new sports arena. When City Councillors justifiably asked Mr. Katz to meet with them to discuss his new demands, the billionaire refused and then claimed through the purchase of an expensive full-page advertisement in a local newspaper that Councillors were being unreasonable.

Alison Redford Alberta Election 2012 Conservative leader

Alison Redford

One of the big sticking points of the original funding agreement between the City and the Katz Group was the $100 million missing from the proposed funding formula. While Mayor Mandel has been reported as saying he was confident the provincial government would fill the funding gap, Premier Redford, Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths, and Finance Minister Doug Horner have been firm in their comments that the province would not provide the $100 million (likely due to similar funding demands that would emerge from Alberta’s other major urban centres).

Mr. Katz’s past donations to provincial political parties, which have been relatively small, makes these large donations suspect. Did Mr. Katz believe that these contributions would help his company’s chances of receiving funding from the provincial government for their proposed sports arena? Alberta’s opposition politicians seem to believe so.

New Democrat leader Brian Mason, who was a city councillor when Edmonton’s last cherished (sic) sports team mogul, Peter Pockington, threatened to move the Oilers unless the municipal government caved to his demands, has been speaking out for the past few years against provincial funding for the arena.

Brian Mason Alberta NDP leader Election 2012

Brian Mason

Mr. Mason, official opposition leader Danielle Smith, and Wildrose MLA Rob Anderson questioned Premier Redford and her cabinet ministers in Question Period yesterday. Not surprisingly, Premier Redford downplayed the allegations, saying that her party would cooperate with any investigation into the matter and that the PC victory in the recent election showed Albertans had confidence in her government.

In the months before the provincial election, Premier Redford’s Tories were criticized for accepting donations from municipalities and public institutions, which are banned under political finance laws. The slow response and lack of transparency of the investigations carried out by Elections Alberta made a strong case for stronger enforcement and reform of Alberta’s election finance laws. Mr. Katz’s alleged donations makes the case even stronger.

Who raised how much?

Elections Alberta released the financial disclosures this week, giving Albertans a chance to view how well funded Alberta’s political parties were during the recent election.

Raj Sherman‘s Liberals raised $112,407 in individual and corporate donations during the election campaign, the New Democrats raised $517,165, the Alberta Party raised $36,967, and Ms. Smith’s Wildrose Party raised a staggering $2,935,008 and spent more than $3 million during that period.

The governing Progressive Conservatives only raised $1,522,581 in financial contributions during the election period and spent $4,663,202, running a deficit of more than $3 million.

It is important to note that these disclosures only include the funds raised by the political parties during the election. Individual candidates raised significant amounts during the election campaign.

8 thoughts on “A case for finance reform: Reclusive billionaire allegedly donated $430,000 to PC Party.

  1. Broken Winged Swann

    I think the optics of this stink.

    That said, however, the Alberta Liberals took about a quarter of their total donations from a single donor and his family/business interests in the 2008 election campaign, so I think they can likely dismount their high horse.

    Ironic point…this donor gave almost as much as Raj raised in total in 2012. High five, red team!

    Reply
  2. bartinsky

    Personal money is just that, the liberals and the CBC spent how much public money trying to burn Mulroney over some German slime ball giving him 300,000 of his own money, millions of taxpayer dollars were squandered for what, oh lets call an inquiry, the opposition parties would call an inquiry into Tim Horton coffee prices if they could. Who cares where Cates spends his money, someone spent great money and what else getting the so called media here in Alberta all horny for their case on April 23, so it didn’t work, move on to the “Business of Alberta” and grow up, because that is what Albertans want.

    Reply
  3. Jason McRobie

    bartinsky, you should care because according to the Alberta Elections Act this may be illegal. No wonder this Province is so corrupt with people like you voting in elections.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Hot rum, the arena and the birds and the bees | Edmonton Blog Watch | The Unknown Studio

  5. Loose Change

    The arena issue stinks, every To-ry MLA and associated so called independent commissioners of the gummint all stink like shxt to their core. They lie, lie and lie some more. There is NOT ONE honest broker of truth and ethics. There is so much lying, buffudling and obfucsation and mass coverup, in almost every avenue and ministry, from health, education, energy and everything else. The corruption here is of pandemic and mass proportions. Election fraud, election financing fraud and subsequent coverups and whitewashes. So many involved in the corruption, MLA’s, ministers, party insiders, bureaucrats, party leaders, the whole boat load of them, so many of them belong in Stephen Harper’s Federal Prison system. This was supposed to be the new, honest institution that replaced the Social Credit. Sadly it has become far worse that what it has replaced. Media is complicit. Far beyond sleazy.

    Reply
  6. Loose Change

    No body can say with an honest face, that there is NO coverup and corruption. Something in all of this, IS NOT hunky dorey. Something in our politics is very very amuck. Far worse that in other provinces and even other countries. The checks and balances of a balanced democracy are non existent here and not working, just barely working at the absolute bare minimums. Just sayin…..

    Reply
  7. Pingback: Three investigations kick-off 2013 in Alberta politics. | daveberta.ca - Alberta politics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *