Elections Alberta has released the initial campaign finance reports from political parties during the Calgary-Lougheed by-election held on December 14, 2017.
Due to a strange quirk in Alberta’s election finance laws, all or most donations collected by political parties during the official by-election period between November 16, 2017 and February 14, 2018 were not reported in the regular quarterly financial reports. Those donations are instead included in this by-election report.
The report showed the Alberta NDP raising $885,206.29 in donations during this three month period, which would include the party’s aggressive year-end fundraising appeal.
When combined with the quarterly reports, this means the NDP fundraised more than $1.5 million in the period covering the final quarter of 2017 and first quarter of 2018.
The Alberta Liberal Party reported raising $79,083.09, the Reform Party reported raising $8,500, and the Green Party reported raising $8,580.00 during the by-election period.
The United Conservative Party did not file a report before the Election Alberta deadline.
The Alberta Party did not file a report because they did not participate in the Calgary-Lougheed by-election.
UCP leader Jason Kenney won the by-election with a landslide 71 percent, ahead of New Democrat Phillip van der Merwe with 16 percent and Liberal leader David Khan with 9 percent.
Recent legislation passed by the Legislative Assembly reduces the length of the confusing by-election financial reporting period which these donations fell under.
Introduced by Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal Christina Gray, Bill 16: Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Statutes Amendment Act shortened the by-election financial reporting period from the day the writ is issued to begin the by-election until it ends on voting day.
It is my understanding that the three-month long by-election financial reporting period is a hold-over from when the old Progressive Conservative regime increased maximum donation limits from $15,000 to $30,000 for individuals, corporations or unions during the writ period. The NDP banned corporate and union donations in 2015 and have since lowered the maximum annual donation limit to $4,000.
The top donors to political parties during the Calgary-Lougheed by-election period (November 16, 2017 to February 14, 2018):
New Democratic Party
Renee Katz – $4,000
K Shugarman – $4,000
Brune Sinneave – $4,000
Cody Sater – $4,000
Don Smith – $4,000
Allan Wood – $4,000
Dan Hays – $2,500
Bart MacLean – $1,500
Aletha Crowe – $1,500
Reform Party of Alberta
Kathleen Thorsteinson – $4,000
Randy Thorsteinson – $4,000
Jill Browne – $2,300
Alan Ernst – $1,000
Richard Willott – $790
Fringe separatist party renames itself, again…
The Western Freedom Party has been renamed the Freedom Conservative Party, according to Elections Alberta. The party was originally formed as the Alberta First Party in 1999, renamed the Separation Party in 2004 and again renamed the Alberta First Party in 2013. It was renamed the Western Freedom Party in April 2018 and again renamed the Freedom Conservative Party in June 2018.
The party’s Facebook page does not yet reflect the name change, but it wants to make sure that Albertans “Don’t find yourself waking up one day to find that the World Bank or George Soros and Aga Khan own your financial institutions. You will then understand what you should have done to stop the UN, the Songbird initiative, the Boreal Initiative, Y to Y and the Leap Manifesto and take your country back from the elites!“
It is not yet known what this fringe party will be named in 2019, but stay tuned.