December 20, 2016
NDP needs to explain why they are running an off-the-books shadow party: Wildrose
The NDP government needs to explain why they are conducting any business through an off-the-books non-profit association that is not audited or regulated, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
A footnote in the NDP party’s 2015 audit states that its operating line of credit is guaranteed through, “a related non-profit Association.”
Wildrose has discovered that association is the “Calgary and District New Democrat House Society” (Calgary House Society), which shares multiple directors with the provincial NDP, owns property and exists explicitly to guarantee the debts of the Alberta NDP.
Membership in the Calgary House Society is automatic to all members of the Alberta NDP, so the society and the NDP have the exact same membership. However, unlike a political party, the society is not regulated by Elections Alberta and its revenues and expenditures are not independently audited.
Wildrose Shadow Minister for Democracy & Accountability Nathan Cooper said these types of organizations that operate in the shadows to support political parties should have been prohibited in Bill 35; unfortunately, the NDP government defeated efforts to do so.
Wildrose MLA Jason Nixon has written to the Chief Electoral Officer to ask him to audit the Calgary House Society since it has the same membership as the NDP, and he wrote to the Ethics Commissioner to rule on whether Minister Brandy Payne, whose husband is the President of the Calgary House Society, should have recused herself from Bill 35 votes.
“The Calgary House Society isn’t regulated, it isn’t independently audited and it is not prevented from receiving union donations, nor are there any limits at all on the donations it can receive,” Cooper said. “I have never heard of this type of shadow party before but if the NDP are serious about their commitment to get big money out of politics, they should have joined us in banning political organizations like the Calgary House Society. We are now left with a situation where political parties need to consider creating these shadow parties if only to keep up with the NDP and their use of this loophole.”