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PCs must put an end to unethical campaign tactics

CALGARY, AB (August 18, 2014): With news of Progressive Conservative (PC) leadership candidate Jim Prentice endorsing the unethical practice of giving away PC memberships, the PC party needs to assure Albertans about the legitimacy of their election process, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

After promising to end entitlements and to restore trust with Albertans, the Prentice campaign reverted to same old insider PC politics by openly committing to giving away PC memberships because it’s been “common practice” of previous PC leadership campaigns.

“Jim Prentice’s endorsement of free memberships calls into question his personal commitment to change the deeply embedded culture of entitlement plaguing the PC party. It also calls into question whether or not the leadership vote process can even be called legitimate,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said.  “Considering the winner of this leadership immediately is in charge of a $41 billion provincial budget, this is a serious issue the PC party must address.”

Contrary to Mr. Prentice’s claims that giving away memberships is common, past PC leadership contenders spoke out forcefully against it. In 2011, former Premier Alison Redford said, “we can’t let this stuff happen,” while former PC leadership candidate Doug Griffiths said, “it would be a sign of weakness if you have to give them away.”

Smith said that by not stopping the practice of handing out free memberships and not demonstrating a clear process for auditing and monitoring the upcoming vote, Prentice and the PC Party are showing that they are unwilling to put a stop to the PC government’s continuing scandals.

“These sort of campaign tactics coming from possibly the next person to lead our province puts a deep stain on the Premier’s office,” Smith said.  “It’s beginning to look like whoever wins the PC leadership race will not only suffer from a lack of democratic legitimacy, but will once again leave Albertans with unethical leadership.”

The Wildrose Party of Alberta explicitly requires its members to buy their memberships with their own funds.