EDMONTON, AB (October 26, 2012): The Wildrose Official Opposition has formally requested Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer investigate an alleged $430,000, single-cheque donation to the Progressive Conservatives in the April election. Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith sent a letter to Brian Fjeldheim asking him to look into a reported donation from Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz to the governing PCs in the final days of the recent provincial election campaign.
“Alberta has relatively high thresholds for individuals and corporations to donate to political parties, especially in election years,” the letter reads. “The limits we have in place are designed to ensure nobody can exert undue influence, or appear to exert undue influence, on those elected to government; accordingly, their proper enforcement is essential to the health of democracy in Alberta.” The letter also references sections 17, 19 and 34 of the Election Finances and Contributions Disclosure Act. The sections deal with the limits individuals are allowed to contribute in a campaign ($30,000 per individual or entity) and clearly state that individuals can’t donate money that does not belong to them. Smith said even if the law hasn’t been broken, the alleged donation is a clear attempt to skirt the spirit of the law. “Albertans must have confidence in the integrity of our political system. They must know that the rules are in place for everybody to follow and that the system cannot be gamed to gain political influence,” Smith said. “If the Act has been violated, the guilty parties should be held accountable. If not, we need to close these loopholes in the Act so it can’t be taken advantage of. “Regardless, the PCs should return the donation and send a clear message to Albertans that they can’t be bought and paid for by the highest bidder,” Smith added.