Danielle In QP, November 5: Political Party Financial Contributions

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The questions about undue influence on government policies around election donations and the connection to arena funding continue to linger, especially when the Premier gives conflicting statements about whether she spoke to the individuals involved in the lobbying. She initially said that it was her policy to call all big donors to her party; then she seemed to backtrack on that. Can she clarify: what members of the Katz Group involved in the lobbying for $100 million in arena funding has she spoken with?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, I think that the Premier has been very clear on this topic, but I can tell you whom the Premier did not meet with following the election, and that is the family that funded some 70 per cent of the party opposite’s campaign in 2004.

The Speaker: The hon. leader.

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. There may be a loophole in Alberta’s election financing legislation, and we’d just like to clear this up. Does the Premier support a law that allows a single person to donate $430,000, a million dollars, $10 million, then hand a list of family, friends, and business associates to receive the tax receipts?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Well, you know, Mr. Speaker, the reason why I made the allusion to that donation to the other party is because this is a case of the kettle calling the pot black, when you have one family virtually paying for their entire campaign in the past elections.

However, we will have a bill, as you know, on the floor of this Legislature very soon, and we will be able to debate what the rules ought to be in the future. 

The Speaker: The hon. leader.

Ms Smith: Thank you. We are looking forward to that, Mr. Speaker. The Premier has promised full co-operation in the investigation. Let’s start right now. Will the Premier disclose what she discussed with all of those involved in the arena deal, release all of the relevant cheques and deposit slips, and clear the ethical cloud once and for all?

Mr. Lukaszuk: Mr. Speaker, I think we have been more than clear on the fact that the arena deal will not be supported by this provincial government in any one-off manner. We have also been very clear that the Chief Electoral Officer will have the ability to do a full review of any and all donations. We will go one step further. We will make the findings of the Chief Electoral Officer, the letter that he will be sending to us, public for Albertans’ scrutiny.