2015-05-04 00:27:08 UTC
thanks to the right wing government they've had for 43 years.
And now we see they have no election spending limits.
And Jim Prentice likes it that way . . . . hmmm . . . .
Can anyone say: 'Alberta; the province that can, and likely has been, *bought* ?
http://calgaryherald.com/ - May 2, 2015
Wildrose, NDP vow to change political donation rules, while Prentice defends them
As the NDP and Wildrose aim to knock off the Tory dynasty in the May 5
provincial election, they are also looking to fundamentally alter Alberta’s
future political landscape by introducing tougher campaign financing rules.
Both parties want to ban corporate and union political donations in Alberta,
with Wildrose also calling to lower the current $15,000 donation limit, which
rises to $30,000 in election years.
And each party’s leader says they could work with each other in a minority
government situation to try to make the change.
Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said Friday that phasing out corporate and union
donations is “critical” and is one of the “commonalities” his party has with
“Cleaning up government is one of those things we’re focused on,” Jean told
reporters while announcing a plan to introduce new children and seniors
activity tax credits when the budget is balanced.
“We would seek the input of the NDP — or any party for that matter — that wants
to have better government and a better governance model.”
Earlier in the day, NDP Leader Rachel Notley said her party, if elected, would
work with the Wildrose to bring in reforms to Alberta’s “ridiculous” campaign
“It’s very important to improving the democratic process here in the process,”
she said in an interview. “It’s just long overdue.”
Under Alberta’s election laws, donors can give up to $15,000 to each registered
party a year — double that amount in election years — plus an additional $5,000
to constituency associations.
Alberta is one of only two provinces that have no limits on election spending.
[The other is BC; also a right wing-governed province ]
Following in the footsteps of the federal government and eliminating corporate
and union donations would represent a sea change for Alberta, where the
Progressive Conservatives have almost always enjoyed a marked financial
advantage over their political opponents, thanks in part to major donations
In Red Deer on Friday, Tory Leader Jim Prentice — who saw his party raise
roughly $800,000 at a $500-a-plate dinner speech in Edmonton on Thursday night
— said Alberta’s campaign finance laws have worked reasonably well for all
“This is an even playing field. They could certainly raise union dollars or
corporate dollars … in the same way,” he said.
“Certainly people always want to make sure that our laws are current. But this
is fair to all of the parties and it works quite well.”
With the NDP in the lead according to several polls, Prentice has gone on the
attack against the party.
On Friday, a number of federal Conservative politicians joined in, as well as a
group of Edmonton business leaders who held a news conference in the capital to
warn against the NDP.
The NDP responded with a news release titled “Breaking News: PC donors want PCs
to get elected,”
noting that the businessmen involved had given more than $85,000 to the Tories
over the last five years.
Liberal Leader David Swann, whose party has also called for a ban on union and
corporate donations, called Prentice an “extreme corporatist.”
Swann, who on Friday called for a $75.5-million injection into provincial
mental health and addiction programs, told reporters in Calgary he is hoping
for a minority government.
“If we have 10 to 12 MLAs — even fewer — than we will be the deal-maker in a
minority government and we look forward to being the trusted alternative to the
PCs and bringing balance back to the legislature (and) hold them accountable.
We’ll be much more effective with a minority government,” he said.
Duff Conacher of the advocacy group Democracy Watch said Alberta is overdue for
major changes to its political financing rules, including limiting donations to
individuals and dramatically reducing contribution limits.
“If you believe in one-person, one-vote on election day, you should want to see
that upheld between elections,” said Conacher, who will release a report card
on the Alberta parties’ platforms around ethics and transparency on Saturday.
“And that means not allowing any one person to have undue, unethical
influence by big donations.”
While Wildrose and the Tories disagree with each other on campaign financing,
they both panned the NDP’s stance on the electricity sector.
Notley said the NDP would work toward re-regulating the province’s retail
electricity system to stabilize prices and make it fairer to consumers, but did
not provide details on what those changes would entail.
“That’s something we need to put a little more work into figuring out,” she
said. “But essentially, it’s the consumer side of things, the regulating the
consumer price part of it, so that we can bring more stability … to what
consumers are paying.”
Prentice said consumers would soon benefit from lower electricity bills as new
natural gas-fired power plants, like the Shepard Energy centre, come online.
“We have a free-enterprise electricity sector in this province … power prices
in this province have come way down and they’re among the lowest in Canada,” he
said. “That’s one of the benefits of the free-enterprise system and that’s
what we want to see.”
Jean said the Tories have mismanaged the electrical sector but new regulations
aren’t the way to go.
“It means another level of bureaucracy that actually doesn’t accomplish
anything, but create more bureaucracy and more expenses,” he added.