Danielle In QP, October 30: Lobbying Government

Ms Smith: Mr. Speaker, we’d like to know more about the government’s dealings with the Katz Group on a number of matters. The Finance Minister said yesterday: “The Katz Group asked for a change in casino licences. We said no. The group asked for direct funding for the arena. We said no.” Will the minister provide details on when and where those meetings took place, who attended those meetings, who arranged those meetings, and how the no decisions were made and communicated?

Mr. Horner: Well, Mr. Speaker, I’d be pleased to get you the dates of the meetings. It’s not a secret. I’ve met with stakeholders in this province pretty much consistently since I’ve become the minister. Even previous to that, a number of years ago I recall the discussion around the possibility of changing casino licensing was brought forward, and the answer was no then. The answer is no today, and the answer will presumably be no in the future.

The Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Ms Smith: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given that making a request for a change in a casino licence seems like a lobbying effort and given that a special request for targeted funding through an extraordinary adjustment to the municipal infrastructure funding program also seems like lobbying, who was the registered lobbyist representing the Katz Group when the casino and the funding requests were made?

Mr. Horner: Mr. Speaker, I’m not aware of who the registered lobbyist was. One of the occasions was at a social occasion where I was approached and asked whether the government would consider it. I said no.

Ms Smith: Well, Mr. Speaker, when we ask legitimate questions about the government’s cavalier attitude toward the cozy connection between party donors, government policy, grant request, funding arrangements, handling of government investments, sloppy election laws, and now hazy lobbying practices, we get dodging, glib brush-offs, misdirection, and jokes about the Kennedy assassination. When will they come clean and tell Albertans the whole story?

Ms Redford: Mr. Speaker, as usual we have the opportunity to discuss all of these issues in the House based on newspaper reports. The good thing about these newspaper reports is that they have accurately reflected the dialogue with respect to public policy on these issues. There is no dispute or any confusion about the government’s position with respect to casino licences, with respect to funding of arenas. We have been very clear, people who have interests in these issues have been very clear, and the stories have been very clear, and the stories have been very clear.