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Say hello to Alberta’s new big-money party

The Alberta Tories have kissed their fundraising edge goodbye, as well as the corporate donations they’ve long been reliant on.


 

Jeff McIntosh/CP

By a whopping $374.61 – enough for 16 People’s Republic of Albertastan T-shirts! – the Alberta NDP can claim the fundraising crown for the latest quarter.

From the period from April 1 to June 30, the newly governing New Democrats reported $269,730.61 compared to the opposition Wildrose’s $269,356, according to the latest figures released by Elections Alberta. The p0st-dynasty Progressive Conservatives came in third place – hey, this sounds like the election results – but just barely, with a $259,636 haul.

This is the NDP’s first time as contribution leaders, after edging the Wildrose for second place behind the Tory machine in the year’s first three. However, it comes in an unusual quarter because it overlaps with the election campaign period. (Because the campaign fundraising period extends two months past the May 5 vote, only the days until former premier Jim Prentice’s April 7 election call sit exclusively within the second quarter. Much of this would be cheques in the writ period’s run-up.) There’s high curiosity about how much debt the Tories amassed for their losing battle, but we’re not going to see the election numbers officially until December. These latest numbers give some hint of the money game’s realignment, and show more starkly just how much of a hole the NDP dug for the Tories by scrapping corporate and union donations with Bill 1 in their quickie spring legislature session. In future quarters, the Tories might not be within visible distance of the leaders.

Of the Tories’ reported quarterly haul, at least $193,825 or 75 per cent came from corporations and union (yes, union singular—one plumbers’ and pipefitters’ local). The list includes nine companies that gave $10,000 or more, and the lead cheque-writer was TIW Western, a steam-generator manufacturer that gave the former ruling clan $25,000.

The NDP disclosed $25,500 in union and corporate donations, less than one-tenth of their total quarterly income. The big-labour party has traditionally not been as reliant on union largesse as the Tories could be on corporate dollars. For the Wildrose party, which had better fundraising stints than the PCs during the Redford era, companies gave $41,515, or 15 per cent of all contributions. During the election, businesses did give more to the party Danielle Smith left for dead – the Wildrose volunteered in early May a list of $1 million in campaign income, and it was top-heavy with corporations giving up to the maximum of $30,000.

The campaign and second quarter were the last times the likes of 1703304 Alberta Ltd. could plump party coffers. The NDP government blotted out the days of corporate and union donations as of June 15, through legislation titled An Act to Renew Democracy in Alberta. The Tories would have better known it as the Aww Hey No Fair Act, though after a bit of early grousing by interim leader Ric McIver, the party joined all other MLAs to support it.

Troy Wason, the decimated PC party’s interim managing director and lone employee, says it will adapt by asking executives of corporate donors to cut personal cheques, and by making more direct appeals to members. Wason remarked on the steady stream of “You won’t believe what the Conservatives are up to!” email solicitations he gets from Tom Mulcair, though he’s not sure why he gets them. The Tory realizes that going cap-in-hand for $10, $20 or $50 is the what the Obama Democrats and the Harper Conservatives are up to, and have been successfully, for years. “That’s just the way of the world, and now it’s the law in Alberta,” Wason says.

The NDP didn’t adjust the donation caps – $15,000 in a regular year and $30,000 in an election year – though the party has hinted that could come after future reviews. Should that come on top of the corporate ban, that’s more tough noogies for what’s left of the PC party. Its second-quarter haul from donations of $250 or less was $19,186, compared to the Wildrose’s $144,291 and NDP’s $165,712.46.

The NDP and official Opposition Wildrose are much better positioned for the new fundraising rules and others that may follow. If the formerly dominant party has any hope of escaping from the depths of third place – and they still do – they’ll have to learn to adjust under rules that, for the first time since the 1970s, the Tories didn’t get to write.


 

Say hello to Alberta’s new big-money party

  1. Strange there’s no mention of the loophole the NDs left in that’s big enough to cram a wind turbine through – parties can still accepted “donated labour” from unions, i.e. thousands of union members get to go work for the party/candidate “suggested” by their union bosses and still get paid by their employer (which, for 90% + is the “taxpayer”) while doing so. Of course, once the dollar value of that labour is publicly disclosed, the political heat will be too much to bear so we should all just patiently await that public disclosure by the unions who must surely rank with indian bands as the two most transparent institutional organizations in the country regarding such things.

    • Wow. Government workers can work for the NDP in lieu of the government and retain their government salary.
      Except you’re lying, and that’s complete and utter BS.

      • “Wildrose proposed an amendment that would prevent unions and corporations from donating the paid time or subsidized time of their employees to political parties, but the NDP defeated that amendment.”

        • I’m kind of curious to know how Ms. Notely or for that fact, Ms. Horvath feels about the clarity act that Thom and the federal dippers are throwing around like a political football in one part of Canada, while Thom plays it a little different in QC.

        • That’s right – Union and business employees.

          Nobody paid by “the taxpayer”.

          • The reference to donated labour from union “employees” is misleading – the bill still exempts donated labour from unions, irrespective of whether the person providing the labour is a union employee or is just a union member governed by a collective agreement that entitles the member to paid leave to do “union business”. So, for example, the collective agreement governing public sector workers (who are paid by “the taxpayer”) entitles those workers to several days of paid leave to provide labour to their unions which, in turn, the union can still “donate” to their political party of choice. Perhaps the significance of this loophole would be clearer to you if your head wasn’t located where “utter bs” is produced.

          • ” he collective agreement governing public sector workers (who are paid by “the taxpayer”) entitles those workers to several days of paid leave to provide labour to their unions which, in turn, the union can still “donate” to their political party of choice.”

            What’s clear is that this is utter BS.

            http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB0QFjAAahUKEwjQwrOSr_DGAhWRfogKHRmnDEI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aupe.org%2Fdocuments%2F6ACWX%2F&ei=LGewVdD8FpH9oQSZzrKQBA&usg=AFQjCNEgUrqXIr3BH6sy9u2HxHREuAQVSw&bvm=bv.98476267,d.cGU

          • Here’s a thought before pasting a link in the future – read what it says to ensure it supports your assertion, especially if you intend to hurl invective at others who don’t share it. In this circumstance, pay particular attention to Article 11. Perhaps review it in the company of a lawyer, who can explain how 11.4 turns unpaid leave into paid leave, since cognition isn’t your strong suit.

          • 11.04 To facilitate the administration of Clause 11.02 of this Article, the Employer will grant the leave of absence with pay and invoice the Union for the Employee’s salary and applicable allowances, or the replacement salary costs, whichever is greater, which the Union shall promptly pay.

            I’m pretty sure I don’t need a lawyer to understand that the union pays every single cent of the employee salary (or even more if the replacement costs more).

            You may want to take the first part of your comment to heart – it could save you posting, and then continuing to defend, complete and utter BS.

          • “(t)he union pays every single cent” – from money the union collects as membership dues – which membership dues are withheld (on a mandatory basis) from the pay of unionized government workers – which pay comes from the taxpayers. It is necessary to connect the dots in this way because I’m reasonably certain “connect-the-dots” is within the scope of your intellect, though perhaps just barely.

          • Uh yeah, their pay comes from the taxpayers and is theirs.
            You know that when someone for a good or service the money becomes theirs, right?

            Your claim was that unionized government workers could collect a government salary while working for a political party.
            Your claim was just shown to be complete BS.
            Do you understand this?

          • Though your responses make it clear you are thick as a brick, here’s a last attempt at correction:

            “Uh yeah, their pay comes from the taxpayers and is theirs.
            You know that when someone for a good or service the money becomes theirs, right?”

            You do know what “mandatory” means, right? As in mandatory withholdings from pay, right? As in “the guy getting the pay has no option whatsoever to prevent part of the pay being given to someone else like CPP, EI, CRA or HIS UNION!, right?

            “Your claim was that unionized government workers could collect a government salary while working for a political party. Your claim was just shown to be complete BS.”

            Having cut and pasted clause 11.04 which says “the Employer [i.e. the government funded by taxpayers] will grant the leave of absence WITH PAY and invoice the Union for the Employee’s salary and applicable allowances”, you proceed to deny that “the Employer will grant the leave of absence WITH PAY”.

            It appears that, having correctly pointed out union members get a government paycheque when they are doing union business, my failure to reference the union reimbursement of that paycheque from funds the government sends to the union as mandatory union dues entitles you to act like an a$$.

            “Do you understand this?”

            Regretably, all too well, if this is in reference to your condition.

          • Except they don’t get a government paycheck. Not a single cent is paid by the taxpayer.
            They get a union paycheck.
            That clause is simply to ensure that employees don’t miss part of their pay.
            Employees not taxpayers pay union dues. And if employees don’t like it, they can vote to decertify, vote for representatives that will set different dues or use them differently, or run for a union leadership position themselves.

            So let me repeat:

            Your claim that union employees “still get paid by their employer (which, for 90% + is the “taxpayer”)” when working for political parties is complete and utter BS.

            Union employees working for political parties are %100 paid by their union, whether or not that money happens to be included on their same government paycheck.

          • What is the difference pray tell if unions are no longer allowed to donate funds then why are they allowed to donate “paid” employee hours? Why have anything to do with unions or corporations period if one wants to remove the influence they have over elections? Let individuals donate their own time for FREE or donate their own after taxes wages.
            I am in a union and my employer (the government of Alberta) gives me a leave of absence to attend union meetings not to stump for the NDP.

        • Well thank goodness for that! I don’t want my union dues going to pay for political volunteerism. If people wish to donate their time or money do so on their own time and with their own after tax wages.

      • You are missing out on something. If a nurse takes an LOA (paid by the union) to do union business, the taxpayer pays for the nurses replacement, often at a higher wage. The taxpayer is often dinged.

        • It’s you that’s missing out.

          As posted above:

          11.04 To facilitate the administration of Clause 11.02 of this Article, the Employer will grant the leave of absence with pay and invoice the Union for the Employee’s salary and applicable allowances, or the replacement salary costs, whichever is greater, which the Union shall promptly pay.

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