October 25, 2012

QP: CORRECTING THE RECORD: PCs off the mark on party donations, transmission lines

EDMONTON, AB (October 25, 2012):  PC CLAIM:  Referring to debate in the Spring regarding illegal donations made to the PC party, Premier Redford claimed, “Last time through this discussion, there were a number of allegations found to be entirely unfounded.” 

FACT: As of July, there have been 81 cases into alleged illegal contributions, 37 of which have resulted in fines and another 14 in warnings.  

PC CLAIM:  Regarding questions on potentially illegal donations from an individual to the PC party, Premier Redford responded, “The first thing I want to say is that the reason we’re able to have this discussion today in the House and in the public domain is because we have in place elections financing legislation that ensures that political fundraising and political contributions are fully transparent.”  

FACT: Though it is true that the legislation in place provides transparency for donors over $375.00, it fails to explain allegations of the PCs accepting $430,000 in a single cheque.  Further, the PC government has long been mired under controversy with illegal donations and the fact that parties under investigation and then prosecuted cannot be reported to the public.  The legislation that is currently in place that bars the Chief Electoral Officer from reporting on the parties involved in concluded investigations was put in place by then Justice Minister, now Premier Redford.  

PC CLAIM: In response questions on the cabinet based decision to approve $16 billion dollars of new transmission lines without an independent needs assessment, Energy Minister Ken Hughes said,  “The Critical Transmission Review Committee took a like at a wide source of information of sources and came to a conclusion, and that conclusion was that these four major pieces of transmission were required and that Alberta should proceed from them.”  “The need for these critical transmission lines was put forward by the AUC, it was the speed of which that the government of the time decided to implement and have these lines put in place.”  

FACT: The Critical Transmission Review Committee was chaired by a long-time and recent PC activist, and was only asked to review some of the assumptions that Bill 50 decisions were based on. Not only was the Chair not independent, they only based their conclusions on the testimony of groups invested in the Bill 50 Lines.   

FACT: It is not within the mandate of the Alberta Utilities Commission to make recommendations on transmission line projects, they only receive applications.  The PC government passed Bill 50 to drive through these massive transmission lines to avoid an independent needs assessment and a proper cost-benefit analysis.  The lines that have been approved are estimated to cost up to $16 billion dollars which will ultimately be downloaded on to Alberta power consumers.  


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