Alberta Politics

Will April 2018 mark a breakthrough for Alberta Party fundraising?

As anyone who is on a political party email list will be well aware of, March 31 marked the end of the first quarter of fundraising for Alberta’s political parties.

The years since the 2015 election have shown a tough competition between the governing New Democratic Party and the Wildrose and now United Conservative Party for best fundraising returns. But with former Edmonton mayor and Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Stephen Mandel now at helm of the third-place Alberta Party, the question will be how much money that party has been able to raise in the quarter that included the February 2018 leadership vote.

Former party leader Greg Clark succeeded in generating significant media attention for the Alberta Party after the last election but the party struggled to raise money under Clark’s leadership. The party raised just over $50,400 in 2016 and $171,411 in 2017, compared to $1.7 million raised by the NDP in 2017.

As a well-known politician with strong ties to Edmonton’s business community, fundraising is not likely to be one of Mandel’s weaknesses. In his bid re-election as the PC MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud in 2015, Mandel’s campaign raised $268,965. And, if one upcoming fundraising event suggests, his network of supporters includes some big fundraising names from the old PC Party network.

Former PC Party fundraisers John Chomiak and Brian Heidecker, along with multi-party donor Marc de La Bruyère are the names included in a recent fundraising email soliciting the sale of $200 tickets to a reception with Mandel on April 11 in Edmonton.

Chomiak is an experienced fundraiser with deep ties to the now-defunct PC Party and past leadership candidates Ed Stelmach and Gary Mar. Heidecker served as a PC Party Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer for Doug Griffiths’ 2011 campaign for the PC Party leadership. de La Bruyère has made significant contributions to multiple parties in the past. According to Elections Alberta records, de La Bruyère donated $6,000 to the PC Party in 2015, $1,500 to the Liberal Party in 2016, and $4,000 to the Alberta Party in the final quarter of 2017.

The results of the first quarter of fundraising for 2018 should be released by Elections Alberta before the end of April.

3 replies on “Will April 2018 mark a breakthrough for Alberta Party fundraising?”

Well, so much for the hopes of something new and better. PO’d Old Tories who were scared by Jason Kenney’s fellow-zealots have invaded and conquered the only grass-roots party in Alberta. With Rachel & Co. sucking up to Big Oil, I guess I’ll have to vote Green.

I feel I still have to remind people that money isn’t everything in politics even though we had a candidate in the last provincial election who raised over $100,000 who lost to one who raised under $1,000. Also, as the PC’s eventually realized, big donations donations can create conflicts and negative headlines that go on and on and leave a lasting impression of corruption in the voters mind. The recipients may think they are well hidden or that no one will go to the trouble of looking at them, but they tend to bubble up to the surface at the most inopportune times.

Now of course, given the Alberta Party is unlikely to become the government after the next election, they do not have to worry so much about all of this and can probably tap into the old PC financial network fairly freely that the new leader and others are well connected to. They will probably be able to buy signs, brochures, TV ads, etc… to present an image of a party that is more serious about winning than it has been in the past, even if some of its policy seems vague or ambiguous to Albertans.

I remember a few elections ago all the money the Alberta Liberals spent on nice TV commercials showing Nancy McBeth riding horses. However, they didn’t get very much for the millions spent. The only thing those campaign funds can’t necessarily buy is votes.

Well isn’t this a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black. Stephen Mandel goes on TV to complain that the Government of Alberta should not be providing or investing money into a pipeline project for private investors. As Mayor he lobbied the Feds, Province and the Tax Payers of Edmonton for money to build Rogers Place, an arena basically for exclusive rights by Daryl Katz to make all the money from. If Governments get into ownership of a pipeline at least that benefits all Albertans and Canadians. Looks like if government investment does not benefit Mandel and his Bud’s Government should not get involved.

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