In Alberta, the billionaire walks and the working man gets the shaft.

The billionaire walks…

There was little surprise among the cynical pundit class yesterday as Elections Alberta announced that it had found billionaire Daryl Katz and his Katz Group broke no laws when the company delivered a donation in the form of a $430,000 bank draft to Premier Alison Redford‘s Progressive Conservative Party during last year’s provincial election.

Daryl-Katz
Daryl Katz

Even though the maximum donation limit during an election period is $30,000, according to Elections Alberta the $430,000 donation was legitimate because it was accompanied by a paper trail of 17 individuals and professional corporations who wished to receive tax-receipts in amounts of $30,000, $25,000, $20,000, and $15,000. Tax-receipts were issued for Mr. Katz, members of his family, and senior employees of his company.

Only the portion of the donation assigned to Mr. Katz’s Chief Financial Officer, Paul Marcaccio, was ruled inappropriate because he is not an ordinary resident of Alberta. The PC Party announced that it returned the $25,000 that was assigned from Mr. Marcaccio.

Even if the Katz Group donation was found to be legal, it certainly goes against the spirit of the law and demonstrates how easy Alberta’s flimsy political finance laws are to circumvent.

The $430,000 donation represented 26% of the money raised by the PC Party during last year’s election period. It could be speculated that this is the reason the PC Party reneged on a promise to reveal their list of donors in the final week of the campaign.

…and the working man gets the shaft.

Corrections Officers on strike last weekend.
Corrections Officers on strike last weekend.

One day after ending a 5-day wildcat strike spurred by serious concerns about safety in the workplace, Corrections Officers represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) claim they are being threatened with punishment by senior managers in the Solicitor General’s department. This goes against an agreement to end the strike reached by AUPE President Guy Smith and the government’s front-man on the issue – Premier Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk – that union members would not be punished for going on strike.

Front-line Corrections Officers at the new Edmonton Remand Centre began a wildcat strike last week after they felt serious safety concerns were not being addressed by their management. The wildcat strike quickly spread across the province as Corrections Officers at other jails walked off the job in a show of solidarity with their colleagues in Edmonton.

Having avoided making any public comments on the issue until the strike was over, Premier Redford emerged at a press conference in Calgary to announce the government would take legal action against AUPE to recoup any costs to the government caused by the strike.

Meanwhile, in a move that could unravel the one-day labour peace, Solicitor General Jonathan Denis announced the province wants to suspend AUPE’s rights to collect dues from all government employees for a six-month period.

The government’s request to the Labour Relations Board would withhold dues of tens of thousands of AUPE members who had no connection to the striking Corrections Officers and is a move that is certainly meant to cripple, and poison the government’s relationship, with the union of 80,000 Government of Alberta employees. The Public Service Employee Relations Act allows for suspension of dues only for individual union locals, not for an entire union membership.

14 thoughts on “In Alberta, the billionaire walks and the working man gets the shaft.”

  1. The Redford Tories are goons and thugs.

    Albertans can’t trust them.

    They only look out for themselves.

  2. It looks like that document is dated from before the settlement. One would hope that with the settlement it has been rescinded. Be good to get some confirmation.

  3. Really Redford, really?! I shudder to think how you’ll piss off the next union-the nurses. Im not quite sure what put a bee in your bonnet with the unions. The ones who put you there…but you keep on this rampage, like a bull in a china shop, your days in office are numbered. It only costs 5 bucks to get that PC party member card. 5 bucks well spent.

  4. The Katz donation precedent will really open up the floodgates for unlimited corporate contributions in the future. It’s a very dangerous situation for our province.

  5. Isn’t this the truth – only in Alberta would safety complaints be ignored, then workers punished for exercising legislated rights, Union punishded for members taking wild cat action when being paid lip service about safety concerns, then union punished some more financially. Can you find any where else – (sport riots ( celebrations)) when extra policing costs were charged back to the perpretrators? NO

    or where the govt/managment provoked labour – Yes

    For sure if a Union had sent a big contribution to a non PC party on 1 cheque the ruling would have been completely different and there would be calls to change the rules to ensure rules were in place to stop it.

    Labour that supported Redford should be very disappointed in the aboutface in spoken values and principles.

  6. Par for the course. This government is almost a spitting duplicate of the gang of thieves running the country. The left leaning opposition really need to reconsider their siloed position of non-cooperation and join forces to bring an end to the rule of right wing, fundamentalist ideologues.

  7. Dave,

    The Alberta PCs *DID* release their list of political donors before the election. It was on the Saturday 2 days before. They just happened to somehow forget to list every single member who had pooled money towards the Katz cheque.

    It might be online at the PC web site still, but unfortunately since Google News Search is a wreck right now with trying to search specific time dates I can’t get the exact URL.

  8. Oh you young greenskins with your hopes dashed on the rocky shores of power and pragmatism; I do not weep for you.

    I think its time for a post on why Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Ontario can all introduce a Municipal Conflicts of Interest Act and Alberta cannot. Maybe we can run that one past Daryl and see what he thinks.

  9. what a bunch of whinging millies, class warfare against someone who has worked to become,, oh horrors of horrors, a billionaire. Get the pitchforks out, break out the torches, storm the bastille. No, fools, turn on your beloved Maoist unions you so love there idiots, they are the ones who have the unfunded pensions, high wages and produce nothing daily, they are your invisible enemy, not some rich dude that employs thousands.

  10. Yes, quite the irony to have the government and the courts trying to bankrupt AUPE the same day that Mister Katz is exonerated.
    As one of the songs in this past weekend’s performance of Strike: The Musical, aptly puts it:

    The right of the ruling class
    Is to put down the working class

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