Limping Alberta Liberals face more financial troubles

Alberta Liberal Party Fundraising

Tracking Alberta Liberal Party fundraising from 2004 to 2014.

Did Liberal leader Raj Sherman break Alberta’s political donations limits when making donations to his own party?
Raj Sherman MLA

Raj Sherman

The Calgary Herald is reporting that Dr. Sherman may have exceeded the $15,000 limit for donations three times in the past four years and donated double the limit this year through corporations he controls.

The questionable donations were first noticed by former New Democratic Party staffer Tony Clark, who brought them to the attention of Glen Resler, Alberta’s Chief Elections Officer.

And it is not just the money given which is a potential issue, because Dr. Sherman and his corporations would have also received tax credits in return for those donations. Dr. Sherman claims he did not deliberately break the rules, but this could still cause lasting damage to his troubled party’s credibility.

Rachel Notley Edmonton MLA Strathcona NDP

Rachel Notley

Fundraising has always been a challenge for the Liberals and starting in 2009, the party struggled to compete with the fundraising dollars captured by Danielle Smith’s rising Wildrose Party. Lately, Dr. Sherman’s party has struggled to compete with the NDP, now led by Edmonton-Strathcona MLA Rachel Notley.

In the first three quarters of 2014, Elections Alberta financial disclosures show the Liberals raised $242,499.16, close to half of the $474,306.85 raised by the NDP in the same period.

Laurie Blakeman MLA Edmonton Centre Liberal

Laurie Blakeman

It is hard to write about the Alberta Liberal Party these days without feeling as if I am kicking a wounded animal. The once confident official opposition party has now dwindled down to a group of MLAs who more closely resemble a coalition of independents than a united front.

Over the past two years, Dr. Sherman’s Liberals have undergone a strange brand transformation, first abandoning the traditional Liberal red for a green Liberalberta brand, and then sixteen months later back to red.

The Liberals will soon lose Calgary MLAs Kent Hehr and Darshan Kang to federal political ambitions, and when that happens, the 3 MLA caucus will face the threat of losing official party status, and funding, in the Legislative Assembly. The Liberal Party’s poor showing in four October 27 by-elections also does not give the party much to build upon.

David Swann Liberal MLA Calgary-Mountain View

David Swann

But the party’s bleak prospects do not mean that individual MLAs are not doing good work. Edmonton-Centre MLA Laurie Blakeman, will continue the good work started by soon-departing Mr. Hehr with her private members bill to create safer environments for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered youth in Alberta schools.

A similar bill introduced by Mr. Hehr in spring 2013 was defeated by a coalition of Progressive Conservative and Wildrose MLAs.

Calgary-Mountain View MLA David Swann continues to defend the rights of farm workers, who find themselves without access to workers rights and occupational health and safety standards.

A strong argument can be made that the five Liberal MLAs who were re-elected in the 2012 election did so on their own merits as strong local representatives and despite the weakness of their party brand.

If Dr. Sherman’s party continues to limp in obscurity, the Liberal MLAs facing re-election in 2016 may have to determine whether their own hard work, rather than their current party brand, will be enough to win them their jobs back for another four years.

18 thoughts on “Limping Alberta Liberals face more financial troubles

  1. Scott

    When Sherman won the Liberal Leadership three years ago I knew it was going to be bad news for that party. Since then a combination of the changing in the Alberta political landscape and mismanagement by both him and LPA brass has dragged them down to a state where I’m not sure the party can survive any longer. A situation far worse that I thought possible.

    If I were Greg Clark I’d be making some phone calls to discuss either an Alberta Party-Liberal merger or trying to get some of the LPA members to cross over to his party.

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  2. Drivel

    Wow, wow, wow…such a small minded, biased drivel, thoughtlessness, full of personal enmity, watered down half truths, mixed with baseless diatribes, shallow driveby mischaracterizations and ignoring any sort of thoughful smart analysis on the foggy hazy electoral laws. Yes it is…read it. The real story here is the flawed electoral laws, not the Liberal Leader. The amount of over oversighted donation is a tempest in a teapot. This is really a non story.

    @scott …Clark had a chance to win in two elections. The Alberta Elbow Party is on a road to self destruction and de_energization. Trying to steal Liberal votes is a failure that speaks volumes about its appeal and its direction. The Alberta Elbow Party is only a temporal anomaly at best with little appeal. The Solid Liberal voters are entrenched, cemented brand loyal voters that only vote Liberal irregardless of times or its leader. But Dave Berta you know that : ).

    Years ago, it was funny watching the Dips and Elbow Elbow Party lovingly courting Raj when left the PC’s. Almost the very same day, these two flakey parties had such bruised ego’s that they flipped their colorful opinions of him within the same day when he joined the Libs, despite the politically tumultuous time he endured and upheld ethical stand he took against his former party, none of that mattered then and obviously it matters nothing today, it only mattered when he was an Independent, what hypocrisy demonstrated by these two shallow groups.

    Another incovenient truth today, the Libs had an unignorable showing, they beat the AB Elbow Party and the Dips, in 3 ridings each. Having been at a recent Liberal function, its clear the Libs are collectively focussing on a successfully growing its brand and the future for the province.

    Manufactured opinions of bloggers and media are not relevant, nor true, just because they say so.

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  3. Nemisis

    Yawn…. liberal who? That party hasn’t been worth paying any attention to since Kevin Taft left. I was happy to vote Lib with Taft as leader, not so much for Sherman.

    The good doc Raj had his moment in the sun when he was kicked out of the PCs for speaking up for health care. That moment came to quick end when he sqwandered his celebrity. Chased good Liberal Hughie MacDonald out of the party and his 15 minutes of fame was ended.

    Blakeman and Swann should think about joining the NDP. Rachel Notley is the future. Hop on board or be left behind, ladies and gents.

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  4. Rene

    Reminds me of the same demeaning headlines the Federal Liberals faced.

    No one chased Hugh Macdonald out of the party, he left on his own and who is Gregg Clark? No thanks!

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  5. sober pragmatist

    Nemesis you should ask Greg and Rachel why dont the ND’s and AB Party just merge? Devotees like you want a merger why not do it? Many in your base dont have faith in your brand to expand on its own, without hoarding from the Liberals to increase their fortunes. Why dont you two parties just merge?

    Any armchair genius opinions on a AP and ND merger? Now that folks is an original idea and warrants thought. How about New-Democratic-Alberta-Party NDAP? Who knows…maybe droves of PC voters will be dump that ship in favor of NDAP? That maybe the visioned merger some of you folks have been waiting for…that is vision. Flip the Liberals a bird and just merge already guys.

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  6. Mike Butler

    Funny how some comments about breaking laws are seeing it as normal. This is a reason why I left this leader. Leadership is important.

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  7. JT

    Such horrible criminally prosecutable law breaking. And so much influence was bought. Is there any sense of reasonableness left anywhere? Using these standards, a simple traffic ticket should land folks in years of prison time for going 10 over. Mike keep hopping around parties eventually you might find one you like and them you.

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  8. 사자

    Lol oh dear. I remember a certain Hawaiian “progressive political consultant” swearing up and down they will win 10 seats next election on Trudeau alone. Politics…

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  9. Alvin Finkel

    Such shallow partisan drivel causes despair to the 99.9 percent of Albertans who don’t choose to join a political party. And no, Mike Butler, leadership is not an end in itself and an ephemeral reason for choosing a political party to join or support (leaders come and go very swiftly). What voters need is a choice of policy options, though one sees almost no discussion of policy issues on this blog or the others that are devoted to Alberta politics. The NDP, the Liberals, and the Alberta Party, though they are all clown shows in terms of their petty internal politics and hatred of all competitors, are united in offering at least some version of greater state responsibility for the needs of the non-rich. Properly subsidized daycare as in Quebec, a universal homecare program as in Manitoba along with excellent long-term care that is geared to income, decent minimum wages, a guaranteed annual income which a federal-provincial test in Manitoba in the 1970s demonstrated had excellent social results, environmental rules and labour safety regulations that bite the asses of those who violate them and are rigidly enforced: we’ll never get any of these from the Tories, who are the handmaidens of big business (along with Wildrose, which is even more shamefully subservient to billionaires). But if those who believe in a responsible role for government on behalf of the people cannot figure out some formula or the other for working together, then Albertans who need a helping hand from government won’t ever see it. More and more, I think that the Right in Alberta has most of the brains (even if they are evil minds) on their side, while the centre and left are populated by twisted people with petty divisions that they refuse to transcend.

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  10. Watson Smith

    Regardless of this incident (or these incidents) Raj has been terrible for the Liberals. There were high hopes until he claimed he had evidence of queue jumping and then didn’t present any. It’s easy to make accusations when you can’t be found guilty of libel. From there he did no better than the Wildrose in being a party of anti-PC; they don’t present a vision, they present the negatives of the party in power and that’s it. Raj and his Liberals have nothing to offer.

    Until the left (Alberta Party, Libs, NDP) join forces in Alberta they will never win on anything but the strength of the candidate or the demographics of University ridings and most candidates are not particularly strong. If they united the left under a strong leaderthey might get 30% of the vote in a lot of ridings that have never been anything but Blue and 40% (which can be a win) in Urban ridings. Get it together lefties (of which I’m one) or be on the outside looking in forever.

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  11. B. Donald

    Alvin Finkel: I couldn’t have said it better myself. Alberta’s progressive party leaders and members have the intellectual and moral high ground — and zero strategic savvy or political maturity. The right must laugh and laugh and laugh at the endless squabbling on Alberta’s left. Egos run amok. What a waste of generations of progressive votes.

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  12. d_fens

    @watson, not one person offered up proof of queue jumping VIP’s, because Redford’s in house engineered inquiry was a trap with no legal protection for witnesses. David Swann and the Liberals were asking for an Inquiry into Physician Intimidation but Redford got elected and changed it into a queue jumping one, creating a legal black cliff for anyone that released names. So to say Raj offered no proof is just a pile of judgemental self agrandizing bs. He and all others were legally gagged due to the threat of legal reprisals. Would any of you have risked everything in those same shoes? No. Thr best shxtty youncan get out of that is coming out legally intact with people wrongly thinking you offered no proof. Its a catch 22.

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  13. long timer

    Mr Finkel, Watson Smith, others you are right. At the ground level the two parties, the Dips and AB are the petty politickers. The AP is really nothing but baggage prone PRE Raj Liberals who rebranded themselves as something different. The Dippers for a lack of imagination are hoping to feast off some imagined Liberal demise. You should leave the North once in a while and come and attended the Liberal Leaders dinner a few weeks back in Edmonton, a full house with successful leaders from society and a bold vision for growth along with Fed Liberal presence. You will understand that this brand are at their core, the great Liberals you have known.. resilient, strong and only interested in growth and public service, NOT competing with small time whimsical fleeting interests. You really would have a different take on how you view the Liberals had you been there. You should come down to the city once in a while. Small time biased blog politics doesnt paint a fair picture.

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  14. Watson Smith

    @d_Fens (nice name by the way, great Michael Douglas movie) Raj had parlimentary protection and instead of showing proof he made a spectacle of himself (the secret wooden box supposedly containing the proof that he showed off for the cameras and then never did reveal the contents of.) Raj is a great guy and, from what I hear, an awesome ER doctor. He is a terrible leader though and it is pretty damn obvious that he is too idealogical to do simple math. They will remain a sideshow to one or the other right wing party until the left unites.

    Seriously, where is the ideological difference between the NDP and Liberals in Alberta? Why can’t they find a middle ground and form one party that could actually compete? We accuse the PCs and Federal Cons of not compromising but these left wing parties can’t even compromise when their viewpoints are so similar. What a bunch of idiots.

    I’m a very strong left winger and would probably choose the NDP ideology if I thought they were a contender; given the actual status of these parties though and their chances I’ve voted PC 5 elections in a row and will probably continue to do so until there is a real contender that isn’t made up of half religious ideologues and half libertarians.

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  15. d_fens

    @watson

    You are completely wrong and need to wisen up and listen and remember. Parliamentary privilege is only applicable when physically inside the legislature, during QP. Outside of the leg. its entirely a different legal matter. I know thats true because Stelmach was taunting the Ind. MLA to repeat the same things outside, when he made allegations against Klein era ministers. Terms of sham inquiry never extended to providing parliamentary privilege during that inquiry. Perhaps that little detail would clarify your understanding on that matter.

    Reply

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